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Pensioners urged to claim £3,000 as 5% cost-of-living drop looms | Personal finance | Finance

The state pension is often the main source of income for older Britons. However, this only increases by 3.1% this year, while inflation has already climbed to 6.2% and continues to rise.

As a result, retirees and experts are worried about the impacts for seniors this year.

If the triple lock had been applied as planned, pensioners would have expected an 8% increase in their sum.

The measure was instead temporarily abandoned, as it was deemed costly and unfair to young taxpayers.

Pensioner poverty remains a major concern, especially with soaring energy bills.

READ MORE: State pension to rise in two weeks – but 500,000 could miss out

As a result, a pension expert is now calling for more to be done to draw the attention of Britons to Pension Credit.

Currently, an estimated 850,000 households are eligible for the payment, but are not claiming it.

The sum is worth an average of £3,000 a year according to DWP figures, and could therefore make a huge difference in the lives of pensioners.

The pension credit supplements what people receive from the state to a level close to the full state pension.

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It also allows people to get other forms of help such as a cold weather payment and a free TV license for the over 75s.

However, Henry Tapper, chairman of Pension Playpen and Age Wage, argued that not enough was being done to encourage the use of the living payment.

He said: “With inflation soaring, reliance on pension credit is a particularly pressing issue at the moment.

“The spring declaration was shocking news for pensioners. They will experience their worst year in terms of living standards since records began, with disposable household income falling faster than at any time in the past 70 years.

“Had the triple lockdown been enforced this year, pensioners would have expected a state pension increase of eight but instead face an actual drop in the cost of living of five per cent. For those on the bread line, that’s five they can’t afford to lose.

“It’s a shame that we have pensioners living in poverty, while at the same time 850,000 households are not claiming this much needed benefit.”

As a result, Mr Tapper called for a “strategic solution” to address the pension credit utilization problem.

Many Britons are unaware the support exists, others are unaware they are eligible, while some fear that by claiming they will lose elsewhere.

Mr Tapper also said granting the pension credit should potentially be ‘automated’ rather than ‘relying on the current difficult application process’.

He added: “The DWP’s efforts to get the message out through regional newspapers are welcome, but more can and should be done.

“The minister told me there is a pension credit task force, but it seems very low key and can’t even be searched on Google.

“Promotion shouldn’t be left to Martin Lewis, the pensions industry should get stuck in.”

A DWP spokesperson recently told Express.co.uk: “The year-long decision to temporarily suspend the triple lockdown ensures fairness for pensioners and taxpayers. From April the full annual state basic pension will be over £2,300 higher than in 2010 and we continue to encourage those eligible for pension credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to apply.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for further comment.