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BeeHive  >  BeeLines  >  2008  >  Apr  >  Let’s Hail the CAB

Let’s Hail the CAB

Don’t ask why, but I’ve just been reading a posting on the ‘This is Lancashire’ website concerning a Pension Credit warning that has been issued to Chorley and South Ribble pensioners.  The warning comes from the Chorley and South Ribble branch of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB).

The CAB people are pointing out that official estimates now show that up to four in ten pensioners who are entitled to Pension Credit to top-up their retirement incomes don’t claim what they’re due.  The Government, as you may have read on the BeeHive before, does pretty well out of this with an estimated £2.5 billion going unclaimed in the 2005/06 year (the latest year where figures are available).

The Government, as I pointed out in a recent BeeLine (Slow on the Uptake) seems to have more or less given up on getting more people to take up their entitlements with ministers admitting that their previous (I thought, modest) targets for increased uptake look unlikely to be met.

The Pension Credit, of course, is often used as an example of how Government policy ensures that scarce resources are targeted at the needy, but it’s clearly of little use to the millions of pensioners who for one reason or another don’t claim it.  The good news is that once poorer pensioners wake up and smell the Pensions Credit coffee and put in their claim they are entitled to get a whole year’s worth of backdated payments as a reward; something I think the Government should have run prime-time TV ads about to get people galvanised into action.  A windfall like that must surely make a claim worthwhile even if it is as fiddly as hell to do.

Sadly, and quite amazingly in my opinion, that’s what this warning from the CAB is all about.  You may have missed it, but somewhere in the small print of the benefits system there’s a provision for the backdating of Pension Credit claims to be changed from October this year.  When I first noticed that last year I thought “That’s good, hopefully they’ll give pensioners everything they’re owed and not just twelve months’ worth”, but that’s not what the change is doing.  Oh no!  The changes from October are reducing the amount of backdating to just three months rather than twelve!  Tricky stuff small print.  You need to keep your eye out for it.  And that’s what this warning from the CAB is all about; they’re urging pensioners to claim now while there are still substantial lump sum payments available to them.

You’re still wondering why I’m checking out the ‘This is Lancashire’ website aren’t you?  Well it’s because veteran BeeLiner Malcolm Deering had nothing better to do on Sunday afternoon than to send me a link to it.  Sadly, and for reasons I’m sure I’ll be mulling over for weeks, if not months, now, I had nothing better to do on Sunday than to read it!  I also know for a fact that Malcolm doesn’t live anywhere near either Chorley or South Ribble, so I can only wonder at the fact that he managed to find this breaking news at all.  To my sideways way of looking at things I guess that if I thought it was an OK subject for a Sunday then I figure I’m OK to bother you with it on a Monday.  That’s the way I see it, anyway…

Steve Bee

28 April 2008

Source: www.thisislancashire.co.uk

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