Delyn MP David Hanson has teamed up with Age Concern North East Wales to encourage all older people in Delyn to maximise their income and find out exactly what are they entitled to in Pension Credit and other benefits and how they can claim them.
The Government recognises that some pensioners are still not maximising their incomes and do not draw down all the money that is available for them. In fact, take-up amongst the least well off group of pensioners is around 81 per cent for those who are entitled to Guaranteed Pension Credit. As a result, the Government is now actively working to ensure all pensioners can access the money that is rightfully theirs.
The UK Parliament is currently discussing a package of changes designed to make claiming entitlements simpler and less intrusive. Subject to Parliamentary approval, from October 2008, pensioners will be able to automatically claim four benefits (the State Pension, Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit) in one phone call to the Pension Service. In the meantime, older people in Flintshire can receive support from Age Concern North East Wales. The voluntary organisation has a specialist Income Maximisation Officer, who is able check people’s entitlement to claim additional money and then, if they are entitled, can make a home visit to assist with the filling in of some of the more complicated forms.
As part of the Government’s new package, there are proposals to change the timescale for the back-dating of claims for Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for pensioners, from twelve months to three months so that they will be aligned with working age benefits.
David Hanson MP and Gwyn Pritchard from Age Concern North East Wales
David Hanson said:
“I am pleased to work with Age Concern North East Wales to help raise the awareness of older people in Flintshire over which benefits they are entitled to and how they should claim.’
“Information is key to people maximising their income and, from October 08, through one phone call to the Pension Service, people will be able to check their entitlement and claim the following benefits: State Pension; Pension Credit; Housing Benefit; Council Tax Benefit and Carers Allowance. This could be money that is rightfully yours and I want to work with local groups like Age Concern North East Wales to help you get it.”
Quote from Age Concern North East Wales:
Gwyn Pritchard, Income Maximisation Officer for Age Concern North East Wales, said:
‘It is great news that it is going to be a lot easier for those people who are entitled to claim for Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit to do so from October 08.’
‘However, there is still a lot of other financial support, besides these particular benefits, that older people are entitled to, but which they often do not know about. Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance are the main ones, which if an older person is eligible, can make a real difference to their quality of life and their health and wellbeing. Age Concern North East Wales is able to give the specialist advice and support that a lot of older people need to maximise their incomes and we will visit any older person at home in order to help them. We can carry out a check over the phone for anyone who thinks they might be entitled to additional income and then, if we think they are entitled, we will arrange a home visit.’
Age Concern North East Wales can be contacted on 08450 549969.
Pensioners’ benefits – useful contacts
How to find out about entitlements and make a claim
From October 08, through one phone call to the Pension Service, people can check their entitlement and claim the following benefits: State Pension; Pension Credit; Housing Benefit; Council Tax Benefit and Carers Allowance.
The Pension Service: 0800 99 1234. (Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 8.00pm)
If you have speech or hearing difficulties, a textphone service is available on 0800 169 0133.
The Pension Service website www.thepensionservice.gov.uk contains comprehensive information for current and future pensioners.
The Pension Service online calculator that enables people to calculate whether they are entitled to pension credit and other benefits:
Useful information about retirement can be found at:www.directgov.gov.uk/en/Over50s