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Pensioners are missing out on £1bn in benefits

Almost three million pensioners in the UK are failing to claim benefits to which they are entitled, potentially missing out on more than £1bn a year, according to Prudential.

Its latest retirement index reveals that millions of pensioners are not taking up the three core state benefits – income support, housing benefit and council tax relief – which could net them up to £1.2bn, which would amount to £127 a year for every pensioner in the UK.

More than 40 per cent of the 435 retired people in the survey say they have not claimed benefits because they are unsure of their eligibility.

Twenty-three per cent are not aware of the benefits while 18 per cent think the process is too complicated. Only 14 per cent say they do not need the money.

Twelve per cent say they want to support themselves, preferring to rely on their savings.

The research has alarmed charities, which say that pensioners are putting themselves at risk by not taking advantage of the benefits available to them.

Age Concern director Gordon Lishman says: “We are extremely concerned that many older people are still struggling to make ends meet and that many pensioners are sinking further into hardship by not claiming benefits which could double their income.”

Pru customer channel director Gary Hitchens says: “We would encourage people not only to start saving early to aim for a rosy retirement but also to investigate thoroughly what benefits are available to them.”

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