Would you credit it?
Youíll know, I guess, that from October the 6th this year elderly people applying for Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Credit will only get their claims backdated by three months as opposed to the twelve months arrears that they are currently entitled to.† According to reports Iíve read this may result in savings of around £100 million a year to the Treasury.
Youíll doubtless know all about this as youíll have read my previous BeeLines on the subject, (Pension Credit and the Village People is one of them.)
Just because means-tested benefits are made available it doesnít mean that all the pensioners who are entitled to them actually get the money in their pockets.† Oh no!† Thatís because you only get benefits if you claim them and to do that you have to both know about them in the first place and be able to wade through a fairly complicated process to claim them too.†
Means-testing for the old is pretty widespread these days with nearly half of all pensioners in the UK entitled to claim one benefit or another or a combination of many.† For whatever reason or reasons something like £2.5 billion pounds went unclaimed last year.† Thatís 2,500,000,000 pound coins that should by rights be jingling around in pensionersí pockets and purses right now.
Apparently the £100 million in savings that will be made by reducing the back-payments payable from this October will be used to fund a new initiative aimed at helping more people claim their rightful entitlements in the first place.† This new initiative is aimed at helping people by doing away with the form-filling and replacing it with a telephone service for use by claimants.
I suppose itís good that the process might end up being simpler, although I would've thought it would be better if auto-enrolment into benefit payments could be used so that people got benefits as a default, but getting inertia on the side of pensioners isnít seen as being as important as getting it on the side of pension savers I guess.
Again, from the reports Iíve read on this it seems that something like 100,000 pensioners could be affected by this change to the back-dating rules and some could potentially lose out on as much as £2,000 worth of benefit payments.† It occurred to me that some of those 100,000 people may well have some connection with the many thousands of BeeHive readers.† They may be our elderly neighbours or relatives, or even friends of our elderly neighbours or relatives.† Who knows?† Itís worth letting people you know in on this stuff if you ever get the chance to bring it up in conversation with them as anyone claiming benefits before the October 6th deadline will still get the full twelve monthsí back-dated payments.
Itís good to talkÖ
27 August 2008
The Herald, 21 August 2008 : 100,000 OAPs could lose out in benefits rules reform.
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