MP Caroline Ansell is urging older people across Eastbourne and Willingdon to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit as the benefit could help with cost-of-living pressures.
Pension Credit is a top up that is worth an average of £3,300. As well as a cash top up to the state pension, it also acts as a passport to other benefits such as help with housing costs, council tax reduction schemes, heating bills and a free over-75s TV licence.
In Eastbourne, nearly 3000 residents do claim the credit – worth more than £3,300 on average – which means an estimated £9 million in additional support is coming in across the town. But it is thought around 25% of people who could claim the extra help do not currently do so meaning there are potentially hundreds in the constituency who could get help.
“Eastbourne has a higher number of residents in this age bracket than many areas so it could be well more than a thousand going without this support. It is vitally important that everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to especially at a time of rising costs,” said Caroline.
“I would be very unhappy even if one older person was missing out on this support so the idea that it might be this many means we need to spotlight Pension Credit support and ensure it is going to everyone as a matter of urgency.
“It is important that older people know about it but also their family and carers if we are to improve the take up.
“It is an issue I come across quite often. Many people are eligible for government support like this but they are unaware of it or they wrongly think they can’t access it.
“I would urge everyone to look into whether they are entitled to this help.”
To raise awareness, the Government has launched a major campaign to encourage eligible pensioners, as well as those who care for and support older people, to access the help they are entitled to.
The Department for Work and Pensions will send leaflets to 11 million pensioners. A high-profile media day will also take place on 15 June.
Pension Credit can be claimed online, by telephone or by post. Information is available on Gov.UK website www.gov.uk/pension-credit