Nearly half (46 percent) of eligible pensioner homeowners are failing to claim any state benefits, Just Group’s tenth annual State Benefits Survey has found. The research suggests that they could be missing out on an average of £1,423 a year per household.
A further two in 10 (18 percent) are claiming state benefits but receiving too little, the survey found, with these people each missing out on a staggering £2,102 a year.
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at 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 serious questions about the support being given to help people navigate the complexities of the benefits system.”
The research from Just Group, based on in-depth fact-finding interviews with clients seeking advice on equity release during 2019, shows that the average annual value of missing benefits was £1,614.
“One of the first tasks of the adviser is to check customers’ entitlement to benefits,” Mr Lowe said.
“Of those eligible for State support, we found nearly two-thirds were missing out made up of 46 percent failing to claim anything and 18 percent claiming something but actually entitled to more.
“The highest amount being missed was £13,660 a year extra income due to a customer in Suffolk who was already receiving help with Council Tax but missing other key benefits.
“Another customer in Dorset who was failing to claim any benefit was entitled to £9,195 a year income.
“Overall, more than half of those missing out on some or all benefits were entitled to at least £1,000 a year or more.”
Just Group said that out of the two types of Pension Credit and Council Tax Reduction, Guarantee Pension Credit has the highest take up rate, at 85 percent.
However, those failing to claim the benefit are missing out on an average of £1,690 a year.
Just Group said that those who are claiming but not receiving all they are entitled to should receive £2,281 a year more.
Meanwhile, Council Tax Reduction is claimed by 42 percent of those entitled, according to the survey, with an average annual loss of £801 to those failing to claim and an average £289 a year shortfall for those claiming but not receiving the full amount.
The research found that Savings Pension Credit has a take-up rate of just 21 percent, with those failing to claim losing £453 a year.
Mr Lowe continued: “Our benefits survey reflects official figures which show vast amounts go unclaimed.
“For the two elements of Pension Credit, the government estimates about 1.3 million families are failing to claim up to £3.5 billion a year.
“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.
“It certainly reinforces the argument that State Benefits information should be included as part of the free, independent and impartial financial guidance now being offered by the government backed Pension Wise service to those aged 50 plus who are considering accessing pension money.”
There are a number of independent benefits calculators which can be accessed online, which are free to use and anonymous.
They can be used to help a person find out what benefits they could get as well as how to claim.