Pensioners Urged to Check Eligibility for 'Gateway Benefit'
Older people in South Tyneside are being encouraged to check they are not missing out on a valuable government benefit as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
Around 2,600 local people are believed to be entitled to but not claiming Pension Credit which could benefit them by around £32 a week and add around £4million to the local economy.
South Tyneside Council is now working with Age Concern, Citizens Advice, South Tyneside Homes and Community Money Advice (CMA Connect) to raise awareness of the benefit which provides extra money to those of state pension age living on a low income.
One South Tyneside resident, who was recently helped to claim Pension Credit by the Welfare Support Team is now more than £4,000 a year better off after successfully claiming.
Councillor Paul Dean, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, said: "Soaring food prices combined with high energy bills are making it incredibly difficult for people at the moment. That is why we are so keen that people who are entitled to Pension Credit actually claim it.
"Pension Credit is also a 'gateway benefit', which could open up access to other support. You can even claim if you have savings so please take a few minutes to check if you're eligible."
To check eligibility for Pension Credit, visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit or ring 0800 991234
Grahame Cassidy, Chief Officer at Age Concern Tyneside South, said: "We worked with over 1,000 people last year but there are so many more that need help and support. To check entitlement and claim, we have ten staff waiting to help so all you have to do is get in touch."
South Tyneside's Welfare Support Team offers a free, confidential welfare benefits and debt advice service to help residents navigate the benefits system to ensure they are receiving the help they are entitled to. The team also helps people recover benefits at appeal which have been stopped by the Department of Work and Pensions. Last year more than £4.6milllion was recovered in unclaimed benefits.
For support in claiming Pension Credit, contact South Tyneside's Welfare Support Team on (0191) 424 6040 or email email@example.com or Age Concern at firstname.lastname@example.org, Citizens' Advice on (0191) 4557958 or contact CMA Connect at email@example.com