The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has welcomed new data that reveals an increase in the number of new Pension Credit claimants during her campaign to encourage older people to claim the financial support they are entitled to.
New data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that the number of new Pension Credit claimants in Wales was 26% higher1 during the campaign compared with the average per quarter over the last two years and that over £10,000 a week – over £500,000 a year – was now estimated to be in the pockets of older people who otherwise would have missed out.2
The Commissioner worked with Transport for Wales to distribute a leaflet encouraging people to claim Pension Credit with all renewed concessionary bus passes, which were sent to everyone in Wales over the age of 60 in 2019. With financial support from the Welsh Government, over 500,000 leaflets were delivered in total throughout Wales.
The Commissioner launched her campaign due to concerns about rising levels of poverty amongst older people in Wales – nearly 1 in 5 older people in Wales now lives in relative income poverty3 – and figures showing that over £214m of Pension Credit went unclaimed in Wales in 2018/194.
The Commissioner has called for further action and investment to ensure that Pension Credit reaches older people in Wales as it provides crucial financial support worth an average of £58 a week to those who are eligible and provides access to a range of other benefits, such as council tax discounts, free dental care and help with housing costs.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“I’m really pleased that my campaign to raise awareness about Pension Credit and encourage those who are eligible to claim appears to have led to a significant increase in the number of new claimants in Wales, which highlights the tangible benefits that action to increase the take-up of financial entitlements can have for older people.
“We know that poverty amongst older people is a growing issue and that entitlements such as Pension Credit can make a big difference to older people who are struggling financially.
“Older people in Wales are currently missing out on over £214 million a year in unclaimed Pension Credit, so it’s crucial that everyone who is entitled to claim is able to do so.
“The Welsh Government’s Claim What’s Yours5 campaign is a welcome step towards increasing uptake, but we need to see further action – both nationally and locally – to maximise the number older people claiming what that they are entitled to.”
1 Data accessed through Department for Work and Pensions Stat-Xplore database – www.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk.
2 Calculations based on median value of claim for the number of new claimants in each grouped amount of benefit
3 Welsh Government. (2020). Relative income poverty: April 2018 to March 2019. Available at: https://gov.wales/relative-income-poverty-april-2018-march-2019 [Accessed 16 March 2021]
4 Independent Age (2020) Pension Credit: a closer look. Available at: https://www.independentage.org/pension-credit-a-closer-look [Accessed 16 March 2021]
5 Welsh Government (2021) Claim What’s Yours. Available at: https://gov.wales/claim-whats-yours [Accessed 16 March 2021]