Older people miss out on £88m from Warm Home Discountwritten by Bella Palmer
Independent Age warned that 630,000 pensioners in England, Scotland and Wales do not receive Warm Home Discount
Older people could have missed out on £88m in Government support to help pay their energy bills last winter, a charity has said.
People on Pension Credit can get £140 off their heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, but Independent Age warned that 630,000 pensioners in England, Scotland and Wales who are eligible for the income-related benefit do not receive it.
Independent Age wants more older people to apply for Pension Credit, particularly as they spend more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and as energy bills for 11 million households in Britain are set to rise by nearly £100 from April.
Calling the Warm Home Discount entitlement “life-changing”, the charity warned that older people are choosing between eating and heating because they are not aware of Pension Credit.
Statistics show that only six out of 10 of those entitled to Pension Credit, which tops up the state pension, receive it, with up to £2.5bn going unclaimed.
One of the two elements that make up Pension Credit is called guarantee credit. It tops up an individual’s weekly income if it is below £173.75, or under £265.20 for a couple.
People who are eligible for guarantee credit are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, as well as other concessions including a free TV licence for the over 75s, free NHS prescriptions, sight tests and dental care, and a Council Tax reduction.
Independent Age is calling on the Government to create an action plan to increase take up of Pension Credit, including an awareness campaign and research into finding out why people are not claiming it.
Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, said: Sadly these Warm Home Discount figures are another example of how much people are missing out on life-changing entitlements because they are simply not aware of how Pension Credit can help them.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: We want to make sure that all older people receive the support they are entitled to and early last year we ran a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit, also dispelling some myths people might hold.
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