Independent Age has launched a toolkit sharing “Good practice examples and principles” aimed at helping boost Pension Credit take up at a local level.
Receiving Pension Credit can make a real and positive difference to the lives of older people in financial hardship, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis. However, uptake of Pension Credit has been consistently low. The latest government statistics available estimate that up to 850,000 people could be eligible for, but missing out on, this vital benefit.
While the UK Government has a key role to play in promoting the take-up of Pension Credit, Independent Age research has highlighted that activity at a local level, including by local authorities, can make a significant difference to Pension Credit uptake.
This toolkit summarises what the charity has learnt from speaking to representatives at local authorities and other organisations about work they’ve done to increase Pension Credit uptake in their area. It also highlights a range of good practice and shares five case studies outlining successful initiatives.
You can read the toolkit to learn more about good practice in promoting the uptake of Pension Credit at the local level by clicking on the download below.
What difference can Pension Credit make?
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached State Pension age, giving them the extra income they need to help with their basic living costs.
Many older people who receive this benefit find it makes a significant difference in their lives. For a single person, it tops up their income to £182.60 a week (£9,495 a year), while for a couple it is £278.70 a week (£14,492 a year). Receiving Pension Credit opens people up to a range of other financial support too, such as free NHS dental treatment, Housing Benefit if they are renting, and a free TV licence for people aged 75+.
Moreover, research commissioned by Independent Age in 2020 calculated that increasing the uptake of Pension Credit at that time could lift more than 400,000 older people out of poverty and halve the rate of severe poverty among pensioners to 4%.
Independent Age is calling for the UK Government to produce a national Pension Credit uptake strategy, delivered by the DWP. This strategy should, among other things, ensure adequate and flexible funding for LAs and improve data sharing. More broadly, a strategy should set out a clear understanding that LAs are uniquely placed to play their part in increasing Pension Credit uptake among local residents – and set out a range of ways to help them do so.