By Mark Fairlie
New data released from a leading UK short-term credit broker has highlighted the worsening financial plight of pensioners across the country.
Figures from CashLady, reveal that the number of over 65s applying for emergency finance has doubled since 2015.
Increasing numbers of pensioners borrowing more
While the income pensioners report when applying for a short-term loan has increased from £1,478 a month to £1,635 in the last two years, the amount of money they request has increased nearly 30% from £302 to £382 in 2017.
The 10% increase in pensioners’ income over the period between 2015 and 2017 has not kept pace with the rising cost of living, the statistics suggest.
Managing Director, Chris Hackett, comments: “These figures suggest there are more and more older people living off their pensions yet struggling to make ends meet.
“Inflation has been stuck at a high level for the last five years and while pensions have gone up, the shortfall between income and the cost of living is becoming increasingly apparent.
“The challenge for many of these applicants is our lenders will only approve loan applications if the person is in employment, which effectively rules out short-term loan options for those already retired”.
1.9 million UK pensioners living in poverty
Age UK, the pensioner charity, has stated that pensioner poverty is “still a huge issue” with close to three million over 65s in financial difficulty, reports Localgov.
According to Age UK’s statistics, one million pensioners would struggle to meet an unexpected bill of £200 or more. Half a million over-65s cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm.
Could pensioners be claiming more?
Four out of 10 pensions are missing out on £2,000 a year in pension credits, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph quoting official statistics. That means a total of £3.3bn a year is going unclaimed.
Pension credits are based on a person’s income, topping up a single person’s pension to £159.35 a week or £243.25 for couples. The benefit does not attract income tax. Additional benefits are available towards housing costs (in many cases), winter fuel payments, and if a pensioner is responsible for another person’s care or they have severe disabilities.
Investment specialists, Just Group, commissioned a UK-wide study into the amount of money being unclaimed by pensioner households in January 2018.
As reported in the Express, the average amount of money lost was £1,013 with some households missing out on £7,000 a year of entitlements.
Six out of 10 property-owning pensioners did not receive their full benefits entitlement. Four out of 10 missed out on all of the state support they could claim and one in five are receiving some but not all of the money they should.
Lack of knowledge
Speaking to the BBC, Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, stated that “We know that many of those missing out simply are not aware they could be entitled to extra support.
“Others are aware of the benefits but feel too embarrassed or proud to put in a claim, and some have previously put in an unsuccessful claim or been put off by the claiming process which they feel is too complicated or intrusive.”