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Two-thirds of pensioner homeowners fail to claim full benefits entitlement

Are you entitled to pensioner benefits?

There are various state benefits that you may be entitled to in retirement -- including Pension Credit (made up of Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit) and Council Tax Reduction -- and it's part of a financial adviser's job to make sure you claim everything you should.

But new research from Just Group has revealed that many households are missing out on thousands of pounds of extra income, with two-thirds of pensioner homeowners failing to claim their full entitlement.

The tenth annual State Benefits Survey found that of pensioner homeowners entitled to receive benefits, nearly half (46%) are failing to claim anything, each missing out on an average of £1,423 a year per household. A further 18% are claiming something but are entitled to more -- missing out on an average of £2,102 a year.

"Our survey once again shows that meaningful sums of money that would make a huge difference to people's lives are not being claimed," commented Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group.

"The low level of take-up for some of the key benefits raises serious questions about the support being given to help people navigate the complexities of the benefits system."

Guarantee Pension Credit tops up your weekly income if it's below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples). According to the research, Guarantee Pension Credit has a take-up rate of 85% but those failing to claim are missing out on an average £1,690 a year and those who are claiming but not receiving all they are entitled to should receive £2,281 a year more.

Savings Pension Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, such as a pension. This has a much lower take-up rate of just 21%, with those failing to claim losing £453 a year.

Meanwhile, Council Tax Reduction is claimed by 42% of those entitled. The average annual loss is £801 for those failing to claim, with an average £289 a year shortfall for those claiming but not receiving the full amount.

Among the clients seen by Just Group was a 64-year-old in Suffolk who was already receiving £20.57 a week in Council Tax Reduction but was missing other key benefits which added up to another £262.70 a week, or £13,660 per year.

Another client in Dorset who was failing to claim any benefit was entitled to £9,195 a year.

"Overall, more than half of those missing out on some or all benefits were entitled to at least £1,000 a year or more," Lowe noted.

He added: "Our figures focusing on homeowners raise questions about whether homeowners are less likely to think they are eligible so less likely to claim, or whether the guidance or information is not there to help them claim or to allow them to check they are claiming the right amount."

Plan your retirement finances with expert help and advice from Fidelius. To find out more about how we could help you, get in touch with us today!

Posted on January 20th 2020

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