Homeowners still missing out on benefits

Homeowners still missing out on benefits

Homeowner pensioners are being urged to check their entitlement to state benefits, as more than half admitted they have never looked into it and could be missing out.

A survey of 1,000 people aged 65 and over by Hub Financial Solutions found that one in 10 people questioned were receiving state benefits other than the state pension. 

Of those that have never checked their eligibility for additional benefits, 52 per cent were homeowners.

Of this group 71 per cent of homeowners thought their income or savings were probably too high to qualify for extra benefits, and 29 per cent thought the value of their home probably meant they would not qualify.

According to the research half of pensioner homeowners failed to claim any benefits and were missing out on an average of £1,058 a year while a further two in 10 did not claim their full entitlement, missing out on about £855 per year. 

A similar picture emerged from research done by Just last year, which found more than half of retired homeowners missed out on state support because they failed to claim it or claimed too little, with an average £1,013 going unclaimed in 2017.

Simon Gray, managing director of Hub Financial Solutions, said: "Our fear is that homeowners on low incomes are missing out because they assume they are not eligible or do not know how to check if they are. 

"Official figures show that more than £3bn of pensioner benefits go unclaimed each year by more than a million households.

"The question is why so many people are not checking their eligibility and potentially missing out on some of the billions we know is going unclaimed."

Mr Gray said people's failure to claim raised concerns about whether the system was too complicated or the guidance and information available was not easy enough to access for those who need it most.

He said: "It’s clear that helping people understand the state benefits system needs to be a key component of the free, independent and impartial financial guidance now being offered to those aged 50+ who are considering accessing pension money."

The benefits people are missing out on include pension credit and council tax reduction.

Patrick Connolly, chartered financial planner at Chase de Vere, said: "The state benefit system is very confusing and there are many people who aren’t claiming benefits to which they are entitled.

"This is a particular concern with pensioners, who are of a generation that is less used to claiming benefits, other than the state pension itself, and homeowner pensions in particular who simply don’t even consider that they would be entitled to anything else."