Withheld and Unclaimed Benefits

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2019 National Retired Members Conference
11 June 2019

Conference expresses its deep concern that the suicide of an 81 year old pensioner left with no money because the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) wrongly stopped her State Pension and Winter fuel allowance because of changes to her pension credit entitlement. She had only £5 when she died. Older people often cannot easily access advice and are reticent about discussing their financial situation with friends and family . They do not wish to be seen as a financial burden and will suffer in silence.

Conference is also concerned about the number of pensioners who are not claiming benefits to which they are entitled. They are living with financial constraints which could be alleviated so they can enjoy a better quality of life, missing out on millions of pounds.

Conference calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the National Executive Council, National Pensioners’ Convention, Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, Age UK and the relevant trade unions to press the Government to ensure that:-

1)The DWP is adequately staffed and trained to ensure that mistakes like withholding pension or benefit entitlements do not occur again;

2)All Local authorities receive sufficient funding to maintain a Welfare Rights Service which is able to run regular benefit take up campaigns its its area and which is able to target older and disabled people so that they are aware of their rights and where and how to get help and advice to rectify mistakes and obtain the benefits they are entitled to receive.