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.