Pensioners fail to claim £687 in benefits
More than half of pensioners failed to claim £687 worth of state benefits they were entitled to in 2013, according to an equity release specialist.
Some 41% of Just Retirement's clients didn't claim any of the state support they qualified for, while 13% didn't take advantage of their full entitlement, the firm said.
Nearly two-thirds were eligible for at least one state benefit but only a fifth of them claimed all they could. Three in five didn't claim anything at all and one-in-five under-claimed.
While the average amount of lost income was just shy of £60 a month, Just Retirement highlighted the case of one client who failed to claim an extra £3,244 a year, or £62 a week.
The number of people failing to claim any entitlement doubled between 2012 and 2013, from 23 to 41%. The amount of income they stood to lose also rose, from just under £650 to around £770.
Over the period, while the number of clients identifying that they were entitled to more state help fell from 33 to 13%, the amount they were failing to claim rose by almost 75% from £212.97 to £372.53.
Peace of mind
Just Retirement spokesperson Stephen Lowe said: "The economy may be picking up but these figures suggest more than half of pensioners might not be taking every step they can towards making ends meet."
He added: "Many are missing out on hundreds of pounds a year that could make a real difference to their standard of living and peace of mind."
Figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed that 52% of households received more in benefits than they paid in taxes during the 2012/13 tax year.
The ONS also said the average disposable income of retired households has risen 7.9% (or (£1,700) in real terms since 2007/08 to just under £21,520 in 2012/13.
A term to describe financial products or ‘plans’ that help older homeowners turn some of the value (equity) of their homes into cash – a lump sum, regular extra income, or sometimes both – and still live in the home. There are two main types of equity release: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans (see separate entries for both). Whichever type you choose, you borrow money against the value of your property, on which interest is charged, and the loan is repaid when the house is sold after your death.