Pensioners urged to claim welfare benefits

THOUSANDS of pensioners in Lancashire could be missing out on benefits collectively worth more than £60m. a year.

Over the past 12 months, Lancashire County Council’s welfare rights service has helped more than 1,500 pensioners across the county to claim benefits, including Pension Credit, worth an extra £3.5m. a year.

Now staff are urging others to phone their advice line on 0845 053 0013 for a free benefit check to see if they are missing out on extra cash.

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County Coun. Mike Calvert said: “The welfare rights service has a proven track record of helping people in Lancashire secure their full entitlement to state benefits, and I’d encourage pensioners to take up this offer of a free benefit check.

“The advice is confidential and independent. If you are missing out, our staff will help you claim the extra money you are entitled to. This is money that can help you pay winter fuel bills, and help you to stay healthy and independent.

“Pension Credit entitlement can also open the door to other benefits and allowances, for example cold weather payments. And if you are not a pensioner yourself, you may have parents or other relatives who could qualify, so why not encourage them to get a benefit check? It only takes a few minutes and could make a real difference.”

In a recent report, the Department for Work and Pensions estimated that Pension Credit worth nearly £3 billion goes unclaimed each year in the UK. The average award of Pension Credit is £57 a week.