Local Labour MP for Leeds North West, Alex Sobel has initiated a campaign to encourage pensioners to sign up for pension credits, and has called on the government to make sure that everyone who is entitled to the Pension Credit receives it. Estimates say that almost 2 million people aged 65 and older are living in poverty in the UK today, but 1 in 4 pensioners entitled to this important assistance don’t receive it. In Leeds North West alone an estimated £2,936,000 worth of pension credits are not reaching the pockets of the people who need it most.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that helps pensioners with important things like Heating, Rent or Mortgage payments and, from 2020, it is required to receive a free tv-licence. It can enable older people to enjoy a greater degree of security and help by making the weekly shop affordable, helping pay essential bills, and enabling older people to take part in social activities reducing the risk of loneliness and poor mental and physical health. According to Age charities 81% of the public believes that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all older people who are entitled to the Pension Credit are getting it.
Mr Sobel said, “Many of my constituents have written to me with their concerns about this important issue; it is clear to me that the government must ensure that everyone entitled to this assistance receives it. Pension credit can transform the lives of older people, allowing them to live with dignity and independence.” According to the charity Independent Age, every year £3.5 billion of funds that the government allocates to eradicating pensioner poverty is returned to the Treasury without getting to the people who needs it most. “ It is is outrageous that the government are allowing this to happen, especially as pensioner poverty is on the rise at the moment.” Mr Sobel said.
Mr Sobel supports the Independent Age’s campaign called Credit Where Credit’s Due, which aims to ensure that 75% of people eligible are receiving the Pension Credit, achieving this target by the end of 2020 will lift around 500,000 older people out of poverty. Mr Sobel encourages older people to check their eligibility and register for this important assistance. To check your eligibility for Pension Credit call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234, for more information contact charities like Age UK and Independent Age.