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OAPs' benefits 'going unclaimed'

(news.telegraph.co.uk)

MORE than 1.2bn of benefits go unclaimed each year because pensioners do not understand what they are entitled to, according to a study.

Research carried out by insurer Prudential has found that around three million pensioners are missing out on an average of 127 a year each because they do not claim income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The main reason for their failure to collect the cash is that they do not realise they are eligible. Nearly half (43 per cent) said they did not know they could receive the extra cash.

A further 23 per cent said they did not realise the additional benefits existed, while other pensioners have been put off by red tape - with 18 per cent saying the process was too complicated.

Prudential director Gary Hitchens said: "Earlier research found that 31 per cent of retired households survive on under 10,000 a year, but (they) could be considerably increasing their income by claiming the state benefits they are entitled to."

Gordon Lishman, director-general of Age Concern, said: "Many older people are still struggling to make ends meet and many ... are sinking further into hardship by not claiming benefits, which in some cases could double their income."