Rising living costs and a lack of awareness of Government benefits are leaving pensioners vulnerable according to MPs. They are urging the Government to act now before more elderly Britons are forced to choose between heating and eating.
It’s no secret that one million people in the UK could be missing out on pension credit, an issue that was highlighted by MPs at the Work and Pensions Select Committee meeting.
Pension credit is a benefit that tops up pensioners weekly income to help those on a low income meet daily living costs.
It can be claimed in conjunction with the state pension but only 60 percent of those people entitled to it are receiving it, according to figures from Hargreaves Lansdown.
It’s highlighted the fact that more needs to be done to make sure everyone knows about this additional financial help available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
He added that across the country this equates to one million pensioners who are not receiving pension credit.
David Rutley, Work and Pensions Minister responded saying the Government is already working incredibly hard to encourage more Britons to apply for these benefits.
In addition, he said they are pushing pensioners to apply for Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
These schemes are already in place to help people on a low income.
Meanwhile, Kim Leadbetter, Labour MP for Batten also brought up how the vulnerable in society are struggling more than ever.
“I’m sad to say that I agree with our most honourable friends that it’s the most vulnerable in society who are being forced to make unthinkable choices.
“Dozens of my constituents have written to me recently saying that they are concerned about the impact this winter will have on elderly residents.
“They are not only facing loneliness and isolation but also a heartbreaking choice between heating and eating.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey responded by pointing out that the Government has injected billions into increasing benefits.
She said this extra financial help is available, for not just pensioners but also the disabled and people on low incomes.
Ms Coffey said: “Whether that’s people of pensionable age or the automation of the Warm Homes Discount so people don’t have to go looking for it, the help is there.”
She also mentioned the Household Support Fund, a £500m Government scheme to help families through their local council.