Increasing Pension Credit Uptake in Wales – Progress Update
The Commissioner has published an update on the work she is undertaking to help ensure older people in Wales are receiving the financial support they are entitled to, using the findings of her Pension Credit Summit to influence policy and practice, and support calls for further action.
While Pension Credit provides crucial support to older people on low incomes – ‘topping up’ a single person’s weekly income to £201.05 (£386.85 for couples) and unlocking other entitlements such as council tax discounts and free dental / eye care – it is estimated that around 80,000 eligible households in Wales do not receive the Pension Credit they are entitled to. This means that over £200 million of Pension Credit is left unclaimed in the UK Treasury each year, rather than reaching those who need it most.
The Commissioner’s Summit was attended by over 70 delegates and included contributions from two older people who shared their experiences of claiming Pension Credit and their views on how best to support older people. Other speakers included representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions, Welsh Government, Age Cymru and RCT Council, who spoke about the different ways they were targeting and supporting older people, both locally and nationally.
As highlighted in the update briefing, progress has been made against all of the actions set out in the Summit Report, and the Commissioner has taken forward a number of actions herself, including:
- Raising concerns with the UK Government’s Minister for Pensions about older people on low incomes missing out on wider entitlements unlocked by Pension Credit.
- Working with the Welsh Government to explore how its ‘Claim What’s Yours’ campaign could be used to raise awareness about Pension Credit and encourage people to claim.
- Working with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to identify effective ways local authorities can reach out to older people who might be eligible for Pension Credit and support them to claim what they are entitled to.
The Commissioner also wants the Welsh Government to work with local authorities to explore how existing data could be used to identify older people who may be eligible for Pension Credit and target useful information to encourage and support older people to claim what they are entitled to.
In addition, the Commissioner will continue to reach out to older people and their families throughout Wales to raise awareness about the importance of people receiving the Pension Credit they are entitled to and the positive difference this can make to people’s lives, as well as connecting older people with services and organisations that support them to claim.
To check whether you may be eligible for Pension Credit, visit https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234.Read the Commissioner’s update briefing here