Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes is supporting Age Scotland’s campaign to urge pensioners across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven not to miss out on millions of pounds in unclaimed benefits.
The move by the SNP MP comes as new figures reveal that almost 3,000 elderly households in West Dunbartonshire are entitled to, but don’t receive, Pension Credit – costing local pensioners an average of £52.53 per week, and an annual loss of £7.7m across the constituency.
Pension Credit tops up weekly income if it is below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples). However, across Scotland, an estimated 40 per cent of people who are entitled to it don’t claim it, losing an estimated £332m each year.
Not only do they lose vital weekly income, but they are also missing out on associated benefits such as a Housing Benefit, Council Tax reduction and Cold Weather Payments.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has joined up with Age Scotland to urge pensioners to find out if they are entitled to the extra benefit by speaking to the charity’s friendly helpline advisors.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“Two in five pensioners across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale are missing out on this vital financial support at a time when poverty amongst older people is on the rise.
“It’s shocking that over £7.7m is being lost each year to pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and shows a clear failure by the UK government to engage with the older generation and help them claim what they’re entitled to.
“Our pensioners deserve a decent standard of living in retirement. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be entitled to Pension Credit, or has an elderly family member who may be affected, to call the free Age Scotland helpline for a benefit check.”
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, said:
“We’re delighted that Martin Docherty-Hughes MP is supporting our campaign. It’s unacceptable that so many pensioners in West Dunbartonshire are spending their later years worrying about how to pay the next bill.
“Many people don’t claim Pension Credit because they’re not aware of it, find the process confusing, or feel too proud to accept help. But this is money they have earned and claiming it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated.
“Last year Age Scotland’s Helpline helped callers claim almost £600,000 in benefits, making a huge difference to their everyday lives. If you or someone you know might be missing out, you can call free on 0800 12 44 222.”