Local MP Jo Swinson is supporting Age Scotland's campaign to urge East Dunbartonshire pensioners not to miss out on millions of pounds in unclaimed benefits.
New figures show that some 1,076 households in East Dunbartonshire are entitled to, but don’t receive, Pension Credit, costing them an average of £57.69 per week, and an annual loss of £3.2m across the constituency. This results in a loss in vital weekly income, as well as missing out on associated benefits such as a Housing Benefit, Council Tax reduction and Cold Weather Payments
Swinson has joined the charity to urge pensioners to find out if they are entitled to the extra benefit by speaking to Age Scotland's helpline advisors.
Commenting, Swinson said:
"Pensioners in East Dunbartonshire are missing out on money they deserve, with millions of pounds in pension and other benefits going unclaimed every year. They have contributed throughout their lives and it’s only right that we help them access money they’re entitled to in order to maintain a decent standard of living.
“Age Scotland are raising awareness of an important issue affecting too many people in my constituency and across Scotland. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be entitled to Pension Credit to the call the free Age Scotland helpline for a benefit check."
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland's Chief Executive, said:
"We're delighted that Jo is supporting our campaign. It's unacceptable that so many pensioners in East 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.”
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 £332 million each year.
Almost six in ten single pensioners and four in 10 pensioner couples already struggle to pay their heating bills and 38 per cent of older people feel financially squeezed.