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Issue Date:- 10 February 2009


UP to £14 million of pensioners’ money sits in the Exchequer each day instead of helping the older people who need it, according to leading older people’s charity Help the Aged. 

The Charity is challenging the Government to turn this around by ensuring older people get the benefits they’re entitled to by paying them to people automatically.  New research shows 79% of older people in the North West think the Government should pay benefits to people without them having to claim.

1 in 5 pensioners live in poverty and struggle with the rising cost of living, yet up to £5 billion in benefits for older people (around £14 million each day) goes unclaimed each year.  In the current economic climate, Help the Aged is demanding the Government throws pensioners a lifeline by cutting out the convoluted claiming process for benefits and introducing automatic payment of benefits.   Each year, up to £1.51 billion in Council Tax Benefit and £770 million in Housing Benefit goes unclaimed.  Pensioners also miss out on as much as £2.81 billion in Pension Credit.

Louise Ward-Bergeman, Policy Officer for Help the Aged, says:- “The Government has most of the information it needs to identify people who are entitled to benefits and arrange automatic payment; what’s needed is the political will to make it happen.  Difficult economic times mean it is even more important for pensioners to get every penny that is rightfully theirs.   The Government has a moral duty to ensure older people receive their benefits, but until automatic payments are introduced, older people also need to take action.  We would urge all older people to find out if they are entitled to benefits that could help.”

The number of pensioners not claiming individual benefits:-

* Pension credit:- Up to 1.82 million older people not claiming (41% of those entitled)

* Housing benefit:- Up to 350,000 older people not claiming (18% of those entitled)

* Council Tax Benefit:- Up to 2.14 million older people not claiming (45% of those entitled)

People can find out if they are eligible for benefits by:-

* Getting a copy of the Help the Aged benefits advice leaflet, Can You Claim It? from or 020 7239 1982;

* Calling SeniorLine, the free Help the Aged advice line on 0808 800 6565

* Calling the Pension Service advice hotline on 0800 991234 or visiting

* Visiting your local Age Concern, Citizens Advice Bureau or British Gas Help the Aged Benefits Advice Programme

Email our news room with your views on this subject to and let us know if you think the government should be doing more to help people automatically and not relying on the public to the work or are we to lazy?  Let us know what you think today.

Dawn Jones Photographic Exhibition

LOCAL Formby photographer Dawn Jones is holding her very first exhibition at the Gallery Bar and Grill on Halsall Lane, Formby over the next few weeks.  He work is all taken using natural light often combining candid reportage photography with artistic approach to produce stunning photographic prints.  He work will be on display until the end of February 2009.

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