Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil is calling on constituents to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit and not to miss out on a vital financial boost.

Mr MacNeil is supporting the campaign by the charity Independent Age calling on the UK Government to create an action plan to increase the uptake of Pension Credit.

He said: “I would urge constituents to check whether they are eligible for Pension Credit because statistics show that many who are eligible are not claiming it.

“Only 63% of those eligible are currently claiming it so please ensure you do not miss out on support which is available to you.”

Pension Credit, a benefit designed to keep the least well-off pensioners out of poverty, is currently being received by just six in 10 (63%) of those who should be receiving it.

New research from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, commissioned and published by Independent Age, has found that the low take-up is creating significant knock-on effects for the NHS and social care, costing taxpayers an estimated £4 billion per year.

This bill to the taxpayer is significantly higher than the annual cost of giving pensioners up to £1.8 billion to which they are entitled but are not receiving. 

Those missing out on Pension Credit are also more likely to need social care – whether residential or home-based – which incurs additional costs to the state of between £66 million and £189 million per year.           

The report concluded that if Pension Credit take-up was lifted from 61% to 100%, then almost 450,000 pensioners could be lifted out of poverty, reducing pensioner poverty to its lowest ever level, and resulting in substantial savings to the NHS and social care systems over the long term.

Independent Age is calling for the Government to put in place an ambitious, publicly available action plan detailing how it will work to increase the uptake of Pension Credit over the next five years.

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