According to MPs, the rising cost of living and lack of awareness of government benefits make retirees vulnerable. They are urging the government to act now before more elderly Britons are forced to choose between heating and eating.
It is no secret that a million people in the UK may not qualify for the pension credit, an issue which was highlighted by MEPs at the meeting of the Select Committee on Work and Pensions.
The pension credit is a benefit that supplements the weekly income of retirees to help low-income people meet their daily expenses.
It can be claimed in conjunction with the state pension, but only 60 percent of those entitled to it receive it, according to figures from Hargreaves Lansdown.
He stressed that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone is aware of this additional financial assistance available from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
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He added that across the country, that equates to one million retirees who are not receiving pension credit.
David Rutley, Minister for Work and Pensions, responded by saying that the government is already working incredibly hard to encourage more Britons to apply for these benefits.
In addition, he said they are pushing retirees to ask for winter fuel payments and cold weather payments.
These devices are already in place to help low-income people.
Meanwhile, Kim Leadbetter, Labor MP for Batten, also spoke about how vulnerable people in society are struggling more than ever.
âI am sad to say that I agree with our most honorable friends that it is the most vulnerable in society who are forced to make unthinkable choices.
âDozens of my constituents recently wrote to me to say they were concerned about the impact this winter will have on senior residents.
âThey not only face loneliness and isolation, but also a heart-wrenching choice between warming up and eating.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey responded by pointing out that the government had injected billions into the increase in benefits.
She said that this additional financial assistance is available, not only for retirees, but also for people with disabilities and low-income people.
Ms Coffey said: “Whether it’s people over retirement age or automating the Warm Homes Discount so people don’t have to look for it, the help is there.”
She also mentioned the Household Support Fund, a Â£ 500million government program to help families through their local council.