Research has shown that over a million people of pension-claiming age have had to reduce the amount of food shopping that they buy in order to pay for hefty utility bills, according to the charity Age UK. The study shows that the cost of living is pushing many of the poorest pensioners to cut back on food and other things in order to pay for day-to-day essentials.
It has been estimated that around 1.6 million of these pensioners tend to shop in the reduced section or wait for food to be discounted at the end of the day, whilst 1.4 million are turning to growing their own vegetables to save money. Age UK’s Charity Director Caroline Abrahams spoke on the matter:[quote] “Poverty remains the reality of life for far too many older people. Our research shows the extreme lengths that many older people are going to just to get by- but cutting back on food or traipsing from shop to shop shouldn’t be an acceptable norm of everyday later life.” [/quote]
The charity pointed out that if all the pensioners who are eligible for Pension Credit made a claim, their income could be increased by a national average of £1,716- this amount more than covers the cost of a dual-fuel utility bill which currently stands at £1,271 a year. The findings of the research point out that more than four-fifths of those receiving Pension Credit can afford to buy food of a good quality and have a well balanced diet.
To help pensioners, Age UK has produced a new Pension Credit guide to help older people who are on a low income claim the extra money that they are entitled to. Pensioners should contact their local Age UK for details of this guide.
Pension Credit is a top-up to a state pension. If you have a private pension, you may not be eligible or only entitled to a lower amount. Visit the Pension Credit page of this site for a more detailed breakdown of the criteria.