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Pension Credit

Unclaimed millions can top up incomes for the region’s older generation

People living in Greater Manchester are being encouraged to top up their weekly income by applying for a multi-million-pound pot of unclaimed government funds.

Latest figures released from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, along with Greater Manchester Housing Providers, suggests as many as 43,000 local residents could be eligible to benefit from £76 million of unclaimed Pension Credit.

Housing providers across the city region are stepping-up efforts to ensure more eligible pensioners don’t miss out on the support they are owed by working with local communities to encourage and help Pension Credit applications.

While 73,000 people across the region currently use Pension Credit to top up their weekly budget and reduce daily household costs, around one in three pensioners around Greater Manchester aren’t accessing the support available to them, with single women living alone the least likely to claim for their support.

While the issue is most pressing for people living in the city centre, residents in all Greater Manchester’s boroughs are missing out on an average of £1,775 of support. This support ranges from topping up pension income to additional benefits such as a free television licences, council tax discounts, free NHS dental treatment and contributions to glasses prescriptions.

Karen Mitchell, Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ Ageing Well Lead and Chief Executive of Southway Housing, said: “This money is for people of pension age and is better in the pockets of our local residents that need it than being sent back to the government unspent.

“We’ve all paid into the system through our taxes over the decades we’ve been working, so there is no shame at all in claiming the extra support available to help top up your weekly budget.

“It means your budget can go further, ensuring that you can enjoy a comfortable retirement, stay warm and spoil the grandchildren from time to time, as opposed to worrying about expensive bills such as dental treatment, television licences and glasses prescriptions. Particularly at the moment, when household budgets are tighter, Pension Credit is there to support you and your family.

“Staff will make the process as simple as possible for you and help you complete the application to claim what is rightfully yours.”

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Ageing and Equalities, said: “The extra money that could be brought into the households of older people through Pension Credit would bring real benefit to them and their families.

“We know that older people are sometimes reluctant to claim what is due to them, or that they simply don’t know this extra money is there for them.

“This campaign delivered by in partnership between Greater Manchester Housing Providers and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority will see teams of expert money advisers making a really positive difference to older people.”

While the largest number of unclaimed funds are for pension aged residents living in Manchester city, around £8 million worth of funds are unclaimed in Bolton and Wigan, with more than £6 million available for residents in each of Salford, Stockport, Oldham and Rochdale.

More than £5 million of Pension Credit is unclaimed in Tameside and Trafford while Bury residents are the most likely to claim the Pension Credit, albeit with £4 million still unclaimed.

To apply to claim Pension Credit, residents can visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit, speak to the local authority they pay council tax too, or speak with their social housing provider.