Britain’s worst-off pensioners receive thousands of pounds less in state support than the richest, study finds,> **Poorest fifth of pensioners receive £7,600 a year on average in state support.
That figure tops £10,000 a year for all their richer peer groups.
And it soars to £11,700 for the second-richest fifth of UK pensioners.**
**_The poorest pensioners receive thousands of pounds less support from the state than the better off, according to new research.
The worst-off fifth of pensioners, who rely on benefits for nearly 90 per cent of their income, receive £7,600 a year on average in state support.
That figure tops £10,000 a year for all their richer peer groups, and soars to £11,700 for the second-richest fifth of UK pensioners, according to analysis of official data by Just Group.
The calculation of state support includes the state pension, which is defined as a benefit despite being based on National Insurance contributions made by people during their working years.
Just Group used Department for Work and Pensions data for 2015 to 2018 to create the charts below, showing what individual pensioners and couples across five income groups receive on average in personal income, in state support, and overall.\
The second richest group of individual retirees receives 53 per cent or around £4,000 more in state support than the poorest group.
The richest group receive around £2,500 more than the poorest despite their average income being nearly £27,000 a year higher.
Just Group points out that the average income of the poorest pensioners at £8,840 falls some way short of the Joseph Rowntree minimum income standard - a commonly used yardstick for a decent standard of living - of £201 a week or £10,452 a year for a single pensioner.
‘The state pension forms the bedrock of retirement finances for the majority of pensioners and these figures reveal just how much the poorest rely on it, as well as other benefits ranging from pension credit to the winter fuel allowance,’ says Stephen Lowe, a director at Just Group.
He says the poorest pensioners might be receiving the least state support on average from the Government because they were less likely to qualify for the full state pension.
And as lower earners, they could have failed to build up as much second or additional state pension - known as SERPS or S2P - before the single flat rate system was introduced in April 2016.
Lowe adds: 'The poorest 20 per cent of pensioners receive far less in housing benefit than others which strongly suggests they are much more likely to own their homes than rent them.
'From our own research into benefits we know that pensioner homeowners are less likely than the average pensioner to claim other benefits such as pension credit and council tax support so we think many might assume that the fact they have wealth tied up in the home rules them out of claiming benefits even if they are struggling.
‘Our annual benefits research reveals high numbers losing out on thousands of pounds in benefits a year.’
Lowe points to previous research by Just Group that found 52 per cent of homeowners aged over 65 have never checked their entitlement to benefits other than the state pension, compared to 20 per cent of renters.
The firm also revealed earlier this year that many elderly people who approach it about squeezing cash from their properties through equity release were unaware of being entitled to thousands of pounds in state benefits.
Some 42 per cent were unwittingly missing out on any state help, and a further 19 per cent were receiving some benefits but not others. In one of the most serious cases, a 64-year-old in Norfolk was losing £7,142 a year.
Just Group singled out pension credit, which tops up the weekly income of the poorest elderly people in the country, as the most important unclaimed benefit.
People may be eligible if they have reached state pension age, even if they own their home. The Government has reportedly seen a surge in applications since the BBC announced it would means test over-75s for free TV licences, based on whether they receive pension credit, from next summer. Find out how to claim it here.
Other key state support for pensioners includes attendance allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payment and winter fuel allowance._** >