State pension ‘falls short’ in supporting over-60s as energy bills rise to record levels

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State pension ‘falls short’ in supporting over-60s as energy bills rise to record levels

Leading poverty organisations and charities are sounding the alarm that those of the state pension age must reach out for additional support. Speci

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Leading poverty organisations and charities are sounding the alarm that those of the state pension age must reach out for additional support. Specifically, Age UK is calling on pensioners to apply for Pension Credit to top up their finances ahead of the energy bill hike. Pension Credit is awarded to those on low-income if they claim the state pension.

The benefit payment, which is administered by the DWP, gives a claimant a weekly income hike of £177.10 if they are single, or joint weekly income increase of £270.30, if they have a partner.

In light of the charity’s call to action, older Britons are sharing how their state pension, savings and other pension pots are helping them during this cost of living crisis.

Ron, who is in his late 70s, said: “Surviving on the state pension with guaranteed Pension Credit just about keeps your head above water. With the expected rise in utility bills I, like many more, will be slowly sinking.”

Tony, who is also in the same age demographic, added: “I have always carefully budgeted to cover my utility bills and have been grateful for the various payments from the Government. In particular, the warm home discount makes a big difference.

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“I did fix my gas and electricity rates last year but this ends at the beginning of February.

“So, with the anticipated increases to come this year I can see my bills possibly doubling and putting unsustainable strain on my resources.

“I only receive a basic state pension and pension credits and have fully explored all available government schemes.

“Unfortunately, these fall short of covering these unprecedented increases. The possibility of a one-off payment or an increase to the warm home scheme would really help.”

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Earlier this year, regulator Ofgem announced that the energy price cap would hit almost £2,000 which means the average household will be paying substantially more than ever before.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, emphasised the importance of the UK Government introducing further measures to tackle the staggering hike in energy bills.

Ms Abrahams explained: “We need urgent and decisive government action to protect the millions of older people who are struggling financially, but who are either not eligible for or not claiming Pension Credit.

“Cutting the five percent rate of VAT on energy bills would be a good start and is important because it would help those just above the benefits line, though there are many other options available to the Government too.

“In the meantime, we are urging older people to check their full entitlements – claiming Pension Credit alone could have a life-changing impact by opening the door to a wealth of additional support.

“Any older person who is finding it difficult to pay their bills, or who is worried about staying warm, can call us today – if we help you to submit a successful claim it could make all the difference.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting vulnerable households with heating their homes, which is why we have announced a £9.1billion support package to help families dealing with rising energy costs.

“Our winter fuel payments are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills and we are continuing to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits available, to make a claim.”



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