**The pensioners missing out on up to £2,500 : More than £3bn unclaimed for third straight year, as people again fail to take Pension Credit.
DWP figures show 1.3m families missed out on claiming retirement benefits.
Families who failed to claim could have missed out on £2,500.
Expert calls it a ‘long-running issue’ that needs to be solved soon.**
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**_The percentage of eligible families who have not taken up the benefit has remained similar for the last five years, when 62 per cent of families took up the benefit.
The figures also showed that the take-up of Pension Credit by those aged under-75 was 2 per cent higher than those over-75. You can start claiming Guarantee Credit if you were born before December 5, 1953.
How to claim Pension Credit
Charity Age UK says claiming Pension Credit only takes one phone call - you don’t even have to fill in a form
Just call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234, and have the following ready:
- National Insurance number
Bank account details
Information about your income, savings and investments
Information about your pension (if you have one)
Details of any housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
Partner’s details (if you have a partner)
The value of the unclaimed benefit amounted to £3.5 billion, which is £400 million higher than it was two years ago.
In total, 36 per cent of Pension Credit went unclaimed last year.
The report states: ‘Trying to explain the reasons for non-take-up is difficult, but it may be affected by factors such as the attractiveness of the benefit, lack of awareness of the benefit or application procedure, lack of awareness of entitlement, the perceived stigma of receiving a benefit’.
Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, said: 'Whatever the reasons, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and leave those older people on the lowest incomes to miss out on what they are due.
'The Government needs to ramp up its efforts to increase public awareness of Pension Credit and explore other options for getting this money to older people, rather than expecting them to do all the hard work of claiming it themselves.
‘It’s unfair to expect these older people, many of whom are likely to be in poor health and with few sources of support, to find their way through the benefits maze.’
In January this year, financial firm Just Group’s Stephen Lowe told This is Money that Guarantee Pension Credit represents the biggest unclaimed sums of the state benefits tracked by his firm, and that those not claiming the benefit were losing out on average of £3,431 a year.
Royal London Pension Specialist Helen Morrisey said: ‘This has been a long running issue that needs to be addressed by government sooner rather than later.
‘This is a benefit aimed at the poorest of pensioners and steps must be taken to ensure they get the support they need.’_**