THE Government is sitting on £14m of pensioners’ money each day.
Help the Aged is calling on the Government to automatically pay pensioners what they are entitled to.
Noreen Logan, chairman of the Huddersfield and District Pensioners’ Organisation, is now calling on the elderly to find out as much as they can about benefits available to them.
Mrs Logan said: “My advice, and I do it myself every year, is to apply for the pension tax credit even if you think you don’t qualify.
“I think many people don’t apply because they have to fill forms in and they don’t like revealing personal information, especially when it comes to finance. A lot of people resist making a claim.
“But if you apply and qualify for the pension tax credit then it automatically gives you access to other benefits, such as council tax credit and housing benefits.”
Help the Aged wants the Government to ensure that pensioners get the benefits they’re entitled to by paying it automatically.
Research shows that eight out of 10 OAPs – 83% – think the Government should pay benefits without them having to claim.
Mrs Logan is also the vice-chairman of the Yorkshire and Humber Pensioners’ Convention and sits on the executive of the National Pensioners’ Convention.
She added: “Help The Aged are highlighting the campaign we have been fighting for a long time now.
“There is never enough help and never enough information.
“The Department for Work and Pensions do advertise and as far as I know they get in touch with pensioners to remind them if they think there is a possibility they are missing out.
“But if people are unsure, they can go into the Post Office or Kirklees Information points or libraries and pick up more information.
“They can also ring up the pensions department and ask to talk to someone if they need more help because it is there.”
A single person’s pension is around £90 per week. The most they can get with tax credits is around £124 a week.
But research by the national charity shows that £1.51bn in council tax benefit and £700m in housing benefit goes unclaimed every year.
Pensions are also said to be missing out on £2.81bn in pension credit.
Louise Ward-Bergeman, from Help the Aged, said: “The Government has most of the information it needs to identify people who are entitled to benefits and arrange automatic payment.
“Difficult economic times mean it is even more important for pensioners to get every penny that is rightfully theirs.
“The Government has a moral duty to ensure older people receive their benefits but until automatic payments are introduced, older people also need to take action.”
Meanwhile, the National Pensioners Convention say pensioners may have to wait until March to get 2008’s Christmas Bonus announced by the Government.
Vice-chairman Dot Gibson described the gesture as a “charade” and said many pensioners are still waiting for their extra £60.