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Complexity is holding back pension credit applicants

Only 10 per cent of pensioners believe that the state benefits system does not punish them for saving for their retirement, according to Department of Work and Pensions research.

The survey, which aimed to identify why many pensioners eligible for pension credit are not taking up the benefit, found that 10 per cent of pensioners in the C1-E social groupings would not apply in any instance.

Figures last month revealed that 3.2 million out of an eligible 4.9 million pensioners claimed pension credit, meaning that 35 per cent of those entitled are not receiving the benefit.

A third say practical assistance, such as a phone call or a visit from a Government official, would encourage them to apply, while another third claim that being able to take a year’s benefit allowance in the form of a lump sum would make them less likely to take up the pension credit.

Much of the problem appears to lie with people not applying because they do not know if they are eligible.

The research shows 30 per cent of non-recipient respondents say they would only apply if they knew for certain that they were eligible and a further 13 per cent say they would apply if they thought they were probably eligible.

The main perceived boun-daries to eligibility are a lack of knowledge of whether homeownership or financial support from the family ruled them out.

Syndaxi Financial Planning managing director Robert Reid says: “One of the main reasons that take-up has been so low is because the forms are horrendous. They are about 30 pages long and very complex and you need the patience of a saint to fill them in.”

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