Ruth Maguire MSP has added her voice to a campaign calling on the UK Government to put an action plan in place to increase the uptake of Pension Credit.
Independent Age are calling on the Department of Work and Pensions to implement a plan over the next five years as part of their Credit Where It’s Due campaign.
This comes as the Centre for Research in Social Policy estimates that there is a £4 billion cost for the taxpayer in increased NHS and social care spending resulting from 40% of eligible pensioners not receiving Pension Credit.
This includes an estimated cost of £6.5 million to the NHS and care systems in Cunninghame South.
Pension Credit has one of the lowest take-up rates of any income related benefit, at around 60%, with over 1 million people missing out – including 1,859 pensioner households missing out on a total of £4,000,000 in Cunninghame South.
The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “Hundreds of people in North Ayrshire are missing out on money that they are rightly entitled to due to the low uptake of Pension Credit. At a time where pensioners, the NHS and social care services are under significant pressure, action must be taken to ensure that people are able to access this money.
“In turn, the uptake of this benefit will go a long way to tackling pensioner poverty and its associated costs on NHS Ayrshire and Arran and social care services. The estimated cost of £6.5 million to the NHS and care systems in Cunninghame South can be brought down and used in other areas if everybody in the area is empowered to claim what they’re owed.”
In early 2020, the UK Government admitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee that if all pensioners received the benefits they were entitled to, including Pension Credit, pensioner poverty would be all but eliminated. Loughborough University’s research into Pension Credit echoes this, estimating that if everyone who is eligible for Pension Credit received it, pensioner poverty would be reduced by almost 5% down to 11.8%.
More information on the Credit Where It’s Due campaign can be found on the Independent Age website.
Information on Pension Credits and how to check eligibility can be found on the Age UK website.
You can find out your potential benefit entitlement by using Age UK’s benefit calculator.