Money Alert: Older people not claiming pension credit

Almost a million older people have had to cut back on food shopping to cover the cost of utility bills in the last two years, a charity has warned.

Age UK's research shows that the cost of living is forcing many of the poorest pensioners to reduce their food bills and seek out other ways to pay for day-to-day essentials.

More than 1.6 million shop for food in the reduced section or wait for it to be discounted at the end of the day, while 1.4 million grow their own vegetables to save money. Worryingly, more than 155,000 skip meals to economise.

"Poverty remains the reality of life for far too many older people," said Age UK's charity director, Caroline Abrahams. She pointed out that if all those eligible for pension credit made a claim, it could increase their income by an average of £1,716 a year – more than covering the average dual-fuel bill, which is currently £1,271 a year.

The charity has produced a new Pension Credit guide to help older people on a low income claim the extra money they are owed. To order a free copy, call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65.

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