Hundreds of thousands of retirees could lose nearly £ 200 from the government, a charity has revealed.
The charity, Independent Age, has said it could benefit many from poverty, especially during such troubled times during the pandemic.
The pension credit can be used to supplement weekly income if it is less than £ 173.75 for singles or £ 265.20 for couples.
The report says the low take-up has significant knock-on effects on the NHS and social care system, costing taxpayers about £ 4 billion a year, more than the £ 2.2 billion if uptake was 100%. WalesOnline reports.
Deborah Alsina, CEO of Independent Age, said urgent action is needed to improve the number of people claiming retirement credit.
She said, “What we can see from this report is that making sure the poorest retirees have a living income is not only the right thing to do, it is also economically sound.
“Taxpayers needlessly pay a health and social care bill of an estimated £ 4 billion, while if the government were to ensure that older people receive the £ 2.2 billion to which they are entitled, much of this added cost to our health and care systems. would be illuminated. “
She continued: “A 61% withdrawal for a benefit designed to keep older people out of poverty is indefensible – and this rate has been stagnant for a decade.
“Without this money, many people cannot live in dignity and later live social, well-connected lives.
“The government urgently needs to draw up an action plan with high-quality, up-to-date research into those who are not entitled to a pension credit and why they are not receiving it.”
SNP Member of Parliament Neil Gray has urged the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to follow the lead of the Scottish government by launching a UK campaign to seize benefits.
He said: “Retirees in Scotland and the UK are facing greater health and economic challenges from the coronavirus pandemic and it is vital that the UK government does everything it can to protect and ensure our retirees that they are not left behind. “
He added: “ The DWP must look to Scotland and follow the lead of the Scottish Government in shaping a strategy designed to raise awareness of Scottish benefits and ensure that people get what they deserve .
“I urge the UK Government to heed the findings published by Independent Age and launch a UK campaign to withdraw benefits so that people are encouraged to get the help they deserve,” especially pension credits. “
Independent Age has previously said that retirees in Scotland are missing out on more than £ 300 million in unclaimed retirement credit.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We want to make sure all older people get the support they deserve and earlier this year we ran a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of retirement credits, also tackling some of the myths people might harbor. .
“Saving, having a retirement or owning a home are not necessarily a barrier to receiving a retirement credit and even a small grant of a retirement credit can provide access to a wide variety of other benefits.
“We encourage anyone who believes they are eligible for a retirement credit to visit gov.uk/pension-credit.
“It only takes a few minutes to get an indication of how much they could get using the online retirement credit calculator and a claim can be filed online or by calling the toll-free claims line 0800 99 1234.”