New report of welfare benefits published

Housing 21 has published a new report which calls for government action to help support and encourage older people who are eligible for benefits which they don't claim.  

The report 'A World of Difference'

  • analyses the experience of older people who have successfully claimed benefits with the support of Housing 21's specialist benefits advisors;
  • examines national benefit and pensioner policy;
  • compares key current issues with those outlined in a similar report published six years ago.

The report found:

  • Housing 21 had helped thousands of its residents claim more than £5 million in benefits since 2001;
  • Up to a third of pensioners still do not claim their full benefit entitlement;
  • There is limited recognition of the role of benefits in helping older people remain independent.

Lyn Davey, welfare benefits manager at Housing 21 and co-author of the report, said:

"It's both frustrating and disappointing that so little has changed in the last six years. Whilst someone's quality of life can be radically improved by a modest increase in income, benefit levels are hardly generous.  The Government can and should do more to encourage benefit take up and ensure older people get the benefits they need."

The report's recommendations include:

  • A drive by local and health authorities, and housing and care service providers, to develop advice services and encourage their staff to sign-post potential claimants to sources of advice and support;
  • A commitment by central Government to develop a pro-active and robust approach to the problem of low benefit take up by older people;
  • Funding for local organisations to support local people in claiming benefits they are entitled to;
  • The removal of the age bar on disability living allowance;
  • A commitment from all political parties to protect the key elements of attendance allowance and disability living allowance in the context of current policy discussions around the future of social care for older people.

Download a copy of: A World of Difference - one million ways to a better life - five years on

The report was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘You and Yours’ on Monday 18th January 2010. Listen to the programme. Courtesy of BBC Radio 4.