Pension Credit: Examples of Good Practice
Good practice is already being delivered in many parts of Wales that is helping to ensure that people have the information and support they need to claim the Pension Credit they’re entitled to. By sharing and promoting good practice, the Commissioner wants to inspire and encourage further action throughout Wales to reach out to and support older people who might be missing out.
We’ve brought together some examples of good practice below, so please take a look. Could you deliver something similar in your area? Or work with partners to help older people claim Pension Credit?
We’ll be adding examples as people continue to share them with us and promoting through our social media channels. So if you’re aware of any good practice that’s making a positive difference, please let us know.
Good Practice Toolkit: Local activity to increase Pension Credit uptake
This toolkit, produced by Independent Age, summarises learning from local authorities and other organisations about work they’ve done to increase Pension Credit uptake in their area. The toolkit highlights a range of good practice and includes five case studies outlining successful initiatives.
Download the toolkit
Care and Repair Cymru Healthy Home Check
Care & Repair Cymru is a Wales-wide housing charity that specialises in home adaptations and repairs for owner occupiers and private renters over 60. As part of their service, all clients are offered a Healthy Home Check, including a financial wellbeing check, to make sure they are able to manage at home and the space is warm, safe and accessible.
Last year Care & Repair’s income maximisation work, which included highlighting Pension Credit where appropriate, helped 2,173 individuals increase their annual income on average by £3,865.
RCT Winter Welcome Centres
Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC’s Winter Welcome Centres are designed as relaxed environments, close to home, where people can spend extended periods of time. Hot drinks and snack are provided with the aim of creating a comfortable space where conversations about available support, including Pension Credit, can take place.
In response to feedback from older people that it can be difficult to know exactly what help is available, partners including Citizens’ Advice, Action for Elders, Care and Repair and Digital Communities Wales have visited local venues to chat to people and discuss the kinds of support they might be able to access.
Pension Credit Day of Action
Elected representatives can also play a part in increasing take up of Pension Credit by engaging with constituents.
One Welsh MP recently wrote to 6,500 residents encouraging them to attend a Pension Credit Day of Action with two local Citizens Advice offices. Around 200 people attended and £200,000 in unclaimed benefits (not just Pension Credit) were identified and applications made.
Conwy Council’s Welfare Rights Team
Conwy Council’s Benefit Office wrote to all those of pensionable age on Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction who may wish to apply for Pension Credit in February 2023 and offered the help of their Welfare Rights Officers.
The Welfare Rights Team were contacted by around 42 people, of whom 14 will qualify for Pension Credit. The Team have either assisted people to make the claim or ensured that customers were happy to make claims themselves.
Raising Awareness of Pension Credit in Denbighshire
As part of a wider Local Authority campaign to support their residents during these difficult times Denbighshire Council decided to raise awareness of Pension Credit. They became aware that this is an underclaimed entitlement across Wales and wanted to do their best to address that.
Using the promotional resources provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Council undertook a campaign in March 2023. They included a Pension Credit leaflet with all of the annual Council Tax bills meaning every home in the County received a copy. By raising awareness amongst all of their residents, they were reaching those of pension age and also the other generations who know and support them. To complement this, they simultaneously ran a social media campaign to reach across different age groups and encourage people to think about supporting their friends and family of pension age and to find out more from the DWP. Both the leaflet and the social media promoted awareness but also provided information to bust some of the myths around entitlement and to highlight how Pension Credit opens the door to other entitlements. The Council also included similar messages on all staff payslips. As they are a large employer in the County, this was a quick way to get the messages across and encourage colleagues to think about their pension age family and friends.
Finally, they have worked with some key teams across the Council explaining how the language that is used can be really helpful, for example using words such as ‘entitlement’ rather than ‘benefit.’ They have also worked to explain how a customer’s change in circumstances may trigger a change in their entitlements and how to signpost people to find out more from the DWP. The Council also works very closely with Citizens Advice Denbighshire and are thus able to provide their residents with additional support to check their eligibility and make an application should they need it.