Pensioner households are short-changing themselves by £1,058 a year on average, with around half, or 49 percent, failing to claim anything at all, according to figures by Just Grouo. A further two in 10, or 20 percent, are missing out on an average £855 a year by claiming but receiving too little. Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “Once again we have found that too many people are missing out on claiming their full benefits with the average annual loss of £1,058 a year, the highest for five years. “These are meaningful sums of money that would make a real difference to people’s lives, especially for those struggling to pay everyday living costs.”
Of those who took part in the research, just under half, 42 percent, were entitled to claim at least one of the key benefits.
But from this percentage, 49 percent failed to claim any benefits at all and 20 percent missed out on received their full entitlement.
Mr Lowe said: “The first priority of the professional adviser when meeting clients is to check their entitlement to State benefits.
“Of those eligible for State support, we found around seven in 10 households were missing out, made up of 49 percent failing to claim anything and 20 percent claiming only their partial entitlement.
“The highest amount unclaimed was £5,702 a year by a couple in Cheshire aged 57 and 58 who were claiming part of their benefit entitlement but under claiming an additional £110 a week.
“Among those completely missing out on benefits, a household in Norfolk, aged 83 and 57, were eligible to claim £5,506 a year.
“A 93-year-old from Hertfordshire who was not claiming, was entitled to receive £5,434 a year.
“Overall, nearly one-third of those missing out were eligible to receive benefits worth £1,000 a year or more.
“Of course we don’t know how long people have been missing out on benefits so in some cases the overall loss is likely to be in the tens of thousands of pounds.”
Guarantee Pension Credit was the biggest unclaimed benefit, average amount at £1,889 a year, and in one case the loss identified was a whopping £4,173 a year.
Savings Pension Credit was the least likely benefit to be claimed with a take-up rate of less than one in three of those eligible and an average loss of £434 a year.
Nearly one-third (32 percent) of cases were eligible to receive Council Tax Reduction but fewer than four in 10 of those were claiming, with an average annual loss of £745.
Overall, half of those eligible to claim were missing out on at least one benefit, 12 percent were missing two benefits and four percent were missing out on three.
Mr Lowe said: “Our research with advised clients is backed up by official government figures which show vast amounts of State benefits go unclaimed.
“For the two elements of Pension Credit, it is estimated about 1.3 million families are failing to claim up to £3.5 billion a year.”