MANSFIELD: More than 2,000 pensioners in ‘unnecessary poverty’

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More than 2,000 of the poorest pensioners in Mansfield may be living in ununecssary poverty, according to new figures released by a national charity.

Older people’s charity Independent Age said that around 2.200 people of pensionable age in the district are living beneath the breadline because they are not claiming benefits available to them.

Nationally, up to 38 per cent of pensioners, around 1.6m, are failing to claim Pension Credit, an important basic benefit, intended to top-up the pensions of the poorest pensioners to at least £145.40 a week.

Victoria Richards from the charity said: “With rising prices a huge source of anxiety to many pensioners, Pension Credit really can make all the difference to those in later life.

“In some cases, it can also passport pensioners to other benefits such as council tax and housing benefit. And when claimed with Attendance Allowance, it can almost double some people’s incomes. But it does have to be claimed.”

The charity has now launched a new Wise Guide to help educate older people as to what financial help is available to them.

The publication is the first in a series of easy-to-read books, packed with essential information for the over-65s.

It covers issues ranging from income and finance to getting help at home, health and fitness and even information for carers and also for concerned family members, the charity said.

There are two types of Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit is income-based and tops up pensioners’ weekly income if it’s below £145.40 for single people or £222.05 (or couples to these levels.

Savings Credit is for people aged 65 and over and provides extra money if they have savings or an income higher than the basic state pension. It is worth up to £18.06 for singles and £22.89 for couples.

Other guides produced by the charity cover remaining independent at home, and staying healthy, happy and connected.

The guides ere free and can be ordered online at www.independentage.org/advice/order-your-wise-guides/ and over the phone on 0845 262 1863.