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Government calls for pension assistance

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21/02/2008

Friends and family can be the catalyst that gets the extra pension cash flowing to those who need it most, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Many pensioners who currently get pension credit say that help from a third party or family member prompted them to apply.

Pensions minister Mike O’Brien is urging the public to make a difference to an older friend or relative who may be finding it hard to make ends meet.

Research by Age Concern has shown that more than a third of us are worried that an older friend or relative is missing out on vital money benefits. One phone call could put these worries to bed.

O’Brien said: “Many older people wrongly think pension credit is not meant for them and so miss out on useful extra cash as well as help with heating, housing or Council Tax costs. That is where friends and family come in. We need to harness friendly pester power to bust their worries about claiming.

“Use our online calculator to work out if they qualify. Reassure them that owning a home or having some savings is allowed. If English is a problem, our staff and an interpreter can call them back. Successful claims before October could result in up to 12 months backdated cash.”

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: “Millions of pensioners are missing out on their rightful share of the billions of pounds in benefits lying unclaimed, with many simply unaware they are entitled to extra cash. Age Concern across the country help thousands of older people each year to claim pension credit and other benefits, which could dramatically improve their quality of life.”

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