A new trial is taking advice on claiming Pension Credit out directly to residents in the communities where they live, in a bid to ease the cost of living crisis for those eligible.
The trial involves staff from Age UK and Older Citizens Advocacy York (OCAY) visiting Tang Hall and Badger Hill on a ‘benefits bus’ on a fortnightly rotating basis, to talk with residents about eligibility for Pension Credit. The trial will use York Explore’s mobile library bus on days when it’s not in use.
Hull Road ward councillor Michael Pavlovic explained why he developed the trial:
“More than £1.7bn of Pension Credit goes unclaimed every year in the UK, by around 1m of those eligible to claim it. That’s money that could be helping to heat someone’s home or put food on the table. But also crucially important, Pension Credit is a gateway benefit which means it could open up eligibility for a great many other benefits.
“These include free TV licences, cold weather payments, energy bill support, council tax reduction, free dental treatment, warm home discount payments and more. So it’s important that people think beyond just what Pension Credit is worth, as the other benefits and discounts could add much more support overall.
“The trial is just underway and runs until the end of April. We’ve publicised it by leafletting the whole ward, so we’re hoping the number of people we’re able to see and give advice to will increase in the coming months. The benefits bus will be in Tang Hall on the second Monday of every month in Alcuin Avenue, and in Badger Hill on the fourth Monday of every month in Yarborough Way.
“I’d like to thank the advisors providing this service and hope that if it proves successful, it will be rolled out to other parts of the city. We need to do whatever can to get money to people struggling with the current cost of living crisis, now more than ever”.
Around £3.6m of Pension Credit is estimated to go unclaimed in York each year, with much more unclaimed when other linked benefits are factored in.