Means testing means mean deal for local Pensioners

February 4, 2005 12:00 AM

New figures revealed by Lucy Care, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Derby South, indicate that thousands of local pensioners are missing out on pension credit payments.

According to the Government's own figures only 70% of people entitled to this money are currently claiming it. In Derby South that would mean that 2228 pensioner households are failing to receive money due to them. Lucy Care has called on the Government to introduce a new Citizen's Pension which would take millions of pensioners off means-tested benefits. Lucy Care said: "Pensioners continue to get a bad deal from this Government.

Schemes such as the Pension Credit are complex and confusing. Rather than forcing pensioners to apply for means-tested benefits the Government should be making sure that every pensioner gets a good basic pension. In the last few months take-up of Pension Credit has plummeted. It looks increasingly likely that the Government will miss its own target. Even if this is achieved a fifth of pensioners will still not be getting money that is rightfully theirs. The Government's own figures would suggest that thousands of local pensioners are not getting money to which they are entitled. Under the current system it is often people who have taken time out of paid employment to look after family members who are the worst off.

A Citizen's Pension would mean that every pensioner would receive an adequate basic pension and people would not be penalised for saving for their retirement." Pension Credit is an entitlement for people aged 60 or over living in Great Britain. It should guarantee everyone aged 60 and over an income of at least £105.45 for single pensioners and £160.95 a week for pensioner couples.

You can apply for Pension Credit by calling the freephone Pension Credit application line on 0800 99 1234, textphone 0800 169 0133. Lines are open between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

According to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions there are 5433 pensioner households in Derby South currently receiving Pension Credit. Nationally only 70% of pensioner households (2,650,000 out of 3,750,000) entitled to the benefit are receiving the payment.

The Government do not make estimates of numbers of households who are eligible for the pension credit by constituency. Working on the assumption that take-up and eligibility reflect the national picture, in Derby South 7661 households should be receiving Pension Credit and 2228 households are therefore missing out.