NEARLY two million UK pensioners are living below the poverty line and one in four struggle financially, new research claimed on Tuesday.
Financial savings advisor Age UK warned that almost three million Britons aged over 65 are finding it difficult to make ends meet, while one in 10 would be unable to cover an emergency expense of £200, according to government figures.
However, the charity pointed out that as much as £3.5bn of benefit allowance from the government’s pension credit and housing benefit scheme remains unclaimed every year, which means pensioners are wasting a precious opportunity to boost their annual income by £2,184.
“Managing on a low, fixed income is really tough, and many people face a daily struggle just to afford the basics,” said the association’s charity director Caroline Abrahams. “That’s why is it so important that every older person who is entitled to claim benefits does so.
“It is shameful that despite millions of older people struggling financially, around £3.5bn in money benefits remains unclaimed every year when this extra income could make a huge difference to their lives.”
Responding to the findings, life insurance group Zurich urged people to start saving as early as possible.
“Retirement shouldn’t be about taking a step back and scraping by, let alone finding yourself unable to pay an unexpected expense of a few hundred pounds,” said Rose St Louis, a savings expert at the firm.
“Three quarters of those still in work actually have clear aspirations for this period of life, such as travelling more or financially supporting children or grandchildren.
“To avoid unnecessary financial strain, and to see these aspirations through, saving needs to begin now.
“Pension credit can support incomes for those who are eligible, but for those who are yet to retire, even small increases to the amount put aside can make a tangible difference.
“Speaking to a financial adviser can help to make sure that you are making the most of your savings potential, putting the right steps in place so that goals for retirement can become reality.”
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