City OAPs missing out on cash entitlements

Some Lincoln pensioners are missing out on an average of £675 a year in unclaimed benefits, according to City of Lincoln Council.

Pensioners are entitled to a rebate on their Council Tax. However, many people aren’t claiming what they’re entitled to.

A report by Jo Crookes, Interim Head of Customer Services at the authority, claims pride is often a barrier to pensioners claiming benefits.

Other barriers include a lack of knowledge about available help, that it is too difficult to claim money, and that they amount they’re entitled too won’t make much difference to their lives anyway.

The City Council Executive meets on July 18 to receive the report and decide on whether to implement a £60,000 scheme to directly target those not claiming Council Tax Benefit.

If approved, the scheme will see two council officers contacting people directly by telephone or by personalised letter, rather than relying on mail shots, adverts and other publicity to spread information and encourage pensioners to claim.

It would start in October 2011.

Councillor Brent Charlesworth, Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion, said: “One of the key priorities for the new administration is to tackle poverty and disadvantage, and one of the major ways we can do that is to ensure that people get access to the benefits that they are entitled to.

“This is vital, particularly when people are struggling to cope in the current economic climate.”

In Lincoln, 17.1% of households currently receive full Council Tax Benefit and pay no tax themselves.

A further 6.4% of households receive a part payment, reducing their overall bill.

Pensioners across the UK are missing out on an estimated £5.5 billion in unclaimed benefits.

Source: City of Lincoln Council