Cash-strapped pensioners ‘missing out on millions of pounds’ in unclaimed benefits, says Sheffield charity

Residents at Age UK Sheffields Wellbeing Centre enjoying craft activities

Residents at Age UK Sheffields Wellbeing Centre enjoying craft activities

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Elderly people with money worries are missing out on millions of pounds of unclaimed benefits that they do not know they are entitled to.

A new service has now been launched to help Sheffield pensioners struggling to make ends meet to see what financial help they are entitled to - all from the comfort of their own homes.

Age UK Sheffield’s ‘Benefits At Home’ service will see charity staff getting out into the community to visit older residents to help them claim all the financial help they may be entitled to.

Steve Chu, the charity’s chief executive, said: “In 2015/16, our charity helped more than 550 people claim an extra £2.5 million in total and we expect this new service to help us target and reach many more. For many, getting older comes with a higher price tag for necessities like specialist food, equipment, clothing, and transport. Up to four million older people in the UK are entitled to, for example, Pension Credit, but more than a third of people aren’t actually claiming it - while at the same time 41 per cent are worried about the cost of heating their home this winter.

“It is alarming the number of older people that visit our city centre shop lacking the money to turn their heating on, who we discover are actually entitled to several benefits. What is likely to be even more alarming, however, is the number of people most in need but unable to get to us for a face-to-face appointment because of health, transport or, indeed, money issues.”

The three-year project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, will enable Age UK Sheffield to employ three new staff to help with claim processes.