Borders’ pensioners still missing out on pension credits

Pensioners in the parliamentary constituency that covers most of the Scottish Borders are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to, statistics show.

Over £3.5 million in pension credits are not being claimed within the Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk constituency according to figures by Independent Age, based on data from the Department for Work & Pensions.

This means around 1680 households are not claiming what they are due in the Borders.

Across the UK it is thought that £2.5bn goes unclaimed every year across 1.15m pensioner households.

Independent Age is a charity based on offering support and advice to people of older age.

Pension credit is an income-related benefit aimed at people over state pension age. It offers older people a ‘top-up’ to their income. The average weekly amount of pension credit received by claimants is £58 – more than £3000 per year, according to Money Saving Expert.

A single pensioner with a weekly income below £167.25, including their state pension, will be eligible for a top up. If you have a partner the figure is £255.25.

Receiving pension credit also qualifies the claimant for a whole host of other benefits.

Those who think they may be eligible can apply at https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator or by phoning the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.

John Lamont MP commented: “These figures are cause for concern, and I hope they will encourage pensioners in the Borders to check if they are eligible to receive a top up to their income.

“Pension credits are designed to help with the weekly shop and to help keep the house warm during the colder months. To hear that over £3.5m is not being claimed is therefore worrying.

“There are of course the other benefits that come along with claiming pension credit. This means overall, people will be losing out on a few thousand pounds if they are not claiming what they are due.

“I would urge anyone to contact me if they feel they may be eligible for this benefit and I will help to point you in the right direction.