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More than one million retirees relying on State Pension alone

More than one million retirees relying on State Pension alone
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

About 1.2 million pensioner households are primarily dependent on the State Pension, according to a financial services firm.

Just Group analysed Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and found that single pensioners accounted for the majority of the households largely reliant on State Pension income. Two-person retired households account for about 450,000 households largely reliant on State Pension.

Three times more women than men in single pensioner households were largely dependent on the State Pension.

The Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) previously calculated the annual Minimum Income Standard for a single pensioner should be £12,800 a year.

But the State Pension is currently £10,600, creating a shortfall of £2,200 every year to meet the PLSA’s minimum standard.

Even with the projected 8.5% increase added by the triple lock taking the State Pension to around £11,500 a year, pensioners reliant on the State Pension would still fall short of this minimum income standard by £1,300 every year.

Income gap needs to be filled

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “The PLSA’s minimum income standard is more than £2,000 a year higher than the current State Pension and demonstrates the gap that over one million retirees, who are largely dependent on the State Pension, need to bridge to achieve a minimum standard of living.

“Filling this income gap presents a difficult task given this group of people are not of working age so going out to work and earning more is unlikely to be an option. It means those without any income beyond the State Pension are likely to have to find ways to cut their costs to the tune of £166 a month.

“This is a problem that affects women disproportionately – sadly we can’t say this is a surprise given all we know about the pension gender gap. There are twice as many women (412,300) over the age of 90 as men (197,220) in the UK and 72% of women in the UK aged 85 or older are widowed.”

Checking benefit eligibility is an important step in ensuring a financially stable retirement, with the latest data on benefit take-up suggesting that just six in 10 people eligible for Pension Credit claimed it, leaving £2.1bn of unclaimed support in 2022.