A new campaign funded by the Mayor of London and supported by London Councils and Age UK has been launched to encourage eligible pensioners to claim up to £240 million of unclaimed Pension Credit across London.

Policy in Practice has been commissioned to run the campaign and is working with 18 London Boroughs. The project will automatically send over 8,500 letters to people identified as missing out on over £3,700 per year.

Across the country around £1.7 billion of Pension Credit goes unclaimed each year. Councils can use the Low Income Family Tracker (LIFT) analytics platform to proactively identify households that are eligible for but not claiming Pension Credit.

You can see how much pension credit goes unclaimed in your local authority here.

Pension credit is worth over £3,700 to the average pensioner household each year

Age UK found that one in four older Londoners live in poverty, demonstrating the importance of ensuring pensioners are claiming all the benefits they are eligible for.

  • We estimate that Pension Credit could be worth up to £3,700 per household per year
  • It is also a gateway to claiming a host of other benefits such as free TV licences for those over 75 years old, Cold Weather Payments and Cost of Living support alongside other help

Accessing this support is more important than ever during the current cost of living crisis. Low-income pensioners are spending a higher proportion on goods due to the rise of inflation.

The Mayor of London said, “The cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on households across our city with the burden of rising prices often being felt particularly keenly by older Londoners.”

A successful Pension Credit claim could be life changing for a pension aged household struggling to meet its needs.

The first fully automated benefit take-up campaign set to deliver over £200 per £1 invested

This is the first data-led automated letter campaign of its kind across London, following successes with individual councils. The impact of this campaign will have significant economic and social benefits across London.

We estimate that between 33% and 45% of the 8,500 eligible households contacted in the campaign (2,800) will go on to take up Pension Credit in the first six months.

From our previous campaigns we know that Pension Credit is worth an average of £3,700 per household. This means that over £10.5 million of additional income is set to be awarded to older Londoners annually.

When people continue to claim Pension Credit over their lifetimes the economic and social value of the campaign increases year on year.

We estimate that the average age of a claimant in London is 70 and they live to 82. This means that the lifetime value of the campaign is worth over £105 million.

Independent Age shows that there are potential public savings of £4 billion when every eligible pensioner takes up Pension Credit. This is because taking up benefits can improve living standards over time and reduce spending on health and social care of people impacted by poverty.

Automated Pension Credit campaigns can increase take up by up to 45%

Councils can make significant social and economic impacts with automated Pension Credit take up campaigns. Success from councils using Policy in Practice’s LIFT analytics platform show that automated take-up campaigns can increase Pension Credit claims by up to 45%.

Policy in Practice has estimated the level of unclaimed Pension Credit and the potential economic impact of campaigns, by local authority and by county council around the UK.

The table below shows that a data-led, locally run campaign in Greater Manchester, for example, could identify nearly 3,000 households eligible for but not claiming Pension Credit. See the value of unclaimed pension credit by local authorities.

We estimate that 33% of eligible households (960) would go on to claim Pension Credit worth a total of £3.8 million and £23 million over the lifetime of the campaign.

Households eligible for Pension Credit and not claiming Households estimated to take up Pension Credit in data-led campaign Value of Pension Credit take up per year
Greater Manchester2,910960£3,100,000
West Midlands2,838937£3,700,000
Scotland 6,1592,032£8,000,000
Wales 3,1661,045£4,100,000

Case study: Islington Council campaign delivers over £1.2 million of Pension Credit and extra support a year

Independent Age’s Pension Credit Uptake Toolkit shows how Islington Council used LIFT to deliver £1,231,633 of Pension Credit and additional benefits to 274 pensioner households.

Independent Age’s report on increasing Pension Credit take up featured Islington Council’s work using LIFT from Policy in Practice

Watch our on-demand webinar: How to maximise unclaimed Pension Credit with Islington Council
Read the Independent Age Study: Local activity to increase Pension Credit uptake: Good practice examples and principles toolkit

Practical steps to reduce unclaimed benefits

Policy in Practice is proud to be a part of the London-wide campaign that is increasing Pension Credit take up and helping pensioners to maximise their income.

This campaign shows how councils can take practical steps to help people claim some of the £18 billion of unclaimed benefits every year by unlocking insights from their own data with the help of Policy in Practice’s LIFT platform and the Better Off Calculator tools.

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