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The mistake costing British pensioners thousands of pounds a year

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13/01/2020
Two-thirds of pensioner homeowners are missing out on thousands of pounds of extra income by failing to claim their full entitlement of state benefits, new research suggests.

Of pensioner homeowners entitled to receive benefits, nearly half (46%) claim nothing, meaning they miss out on an average of £1,423 a year per household, up from £1,139 in 2018.

A further 18% claim but receive too little, each missing out on £2,102 a year, according to the study by retirement firm Just Group.

The key state benefits pensioners can claim are guarantee pension credit, savings pension credit and a council tax reduction.

Guarantee pension credit has the highest take up rate of the three benefits with 85% of pensioners claiming it. This credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples).

Those failing to claim miss out on an average £1,690 a year.

Savings pension credit, which is an extra payment from the government available to people who’ve saved for retirement, has the lowest take-up rate of just 21%, with those failing to claim losing £453 a year.

Council tax reduction is claimed by 42% of eligible people. Those who fail to claim lose out on an average of £801 a year.

Stephen Lowe, of Just Group, said: “Our survey once again shows that meaningful sums of money that would make a huge difference to people’s lives are not being claimed.

“The low level of take-up for some of the key benefits raises some serious questions about the support being given to help people navigate the complexities of the benefits system.”

For the two elements of the pension credit, the government estimates around 1.3 million families are failing to claim up to £3.5bn a year.

Lowe said: “Our figures focusing on homeowners raise questions about whether homeowners are less likely to think they are eligible so less likely to claim, or whether the guidance or information is not there to help them claim or to allow them to check they are claiming the right amount.”

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