Campaign to Boost Pensioner Benefits Uptake
A campaign has been launched to encourage older people in South Tyneside to check if they are entitled to Pension Credit.
South Tyneside Council has joined forces with Age Concern, Citizens Advice, South Tyneside Homes and Community Money Advice (CMA Connect) to raise awareness of the government benefit which provides extra money to those of state pension age living on a low income.
It is understood more than 2,600 local residents who meet the criteria are not claiming, which could benefit them by around £32 a week and add around £4million to the local economy.
Pension Credit also acts as a 'gateway' benefit which opens up access to other support which is why the Council is keen to see more people claim it.
Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: "With so many of our residents struggling with the cost of living, it's important to make people aware of the benefits that they may be entitled to.
"We think many people may mistakenly believe they are not entitled to claim if they have savings but this is not the case.
"I would encourage all our older residents to check if they are eligible to receive Pension Credit. It will only take a few minutes to check but, if successful, it could help you manage your costs in these challenging times."
South Tyneside's Welfare Support Team offers a free, confidential welfare benefits and debt advice service to help residents navigate the benefits system to ensure they are receiving the help they are entitled to. The team also helps people recover benefits at appeal which have been stopped by the Department of Work and Pensions. Last year more than £4.6milllion was recovered in unclaimed benefits.
To check eligibility for Pension Credit, visit gov.uk/pension-credit or ring 0800 991234
To contact South Tyneside's Welfare Support Team for support in claiming, call 0191 424 6040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org