Pension Credit is not getting through

13 January 2004
Half of those eligible to receive Pension Credit - the Government's new scheme that replaces the Minimum Income Guarantee - are not doing so, new figures show.

2.53 million people are currently receiving the tax credit, and the rate of new take-up has slowed from 106,000 in November to just 79,000 in December.

The figures have been put together by the Department for Work and Pensions, which maintains that because Pension Credit can be backdated for a year, unlike other benefits, which can only be backdated for three months.

Pensions Minister Malcolm Wicks commented, "I'm pleased that thousands more people continue to make successful applications for Pension Credit, and as we start the New Year I encourage all those who have not applied but think they may be eligible to do so.

“There is still plenty of time to get your application in. If we receive yours by October of this year, it will be backdated to October 2003 or to the date entitlement begins if this is later.”

However, the Department has been criticised by many for the complexity of the claims process, which it is argued puts people off from claiming.

The DWP denies this, though. The survey, the Department insists, found only 10 per cent of respondents calling for the process to be made clearer and only 5 per cent complaining that the process demanded too much information.