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Pensioners starting to get their dues

22 April 2004
Pensioners are starting to receive what is rightfully theirs, as the Pension Credit system becomes increasingly effective.

Figures released yesterday showed a record month in March, with 138,000 new households starting to receive entitlements.

This is the highest number of households added in a single month since Pension Credit was introduced in October 2003. In total, there are now 2.4 million households, or 2.9 million individuals receiving Pension Credit across the country.

"I am delighted at the number of people who have started to receive Pension Credit this month," said Andrew Smith, secertary of state, Department for Work and Pensions. "In just six months these figures confirm that 2.4 million households are now getting what they are entitled to through Pension Credit."

Mr Smith says that finding those who have missed out is the priority: "To tackle pensioner poverty we have to get the money to those who need it most and ensure that people pick up what is rightfully theirs. We are succeeding in doing this."

Over two million individuals are now receiving more money than under the old system.

Further figures displayed that pensioner poverty is down again: 1.8 million pensioners have been lifted out of acute hardship since 1997.

Pensions minister, Malcolm Wicks, added, "We will continue to work closely with our partners to encourage all those who have not yet applied to do so. Following the budget last month, backdating will now be extended to twelve months so that people don't miss out on the money that is theirs."

From this month Pension Credit has increased by over £3 to £105.45 a week for a single person, and by over £5 to £160.95 a week for couples, a rise which has been marked by a recent television adverting campaign.

Pension Credit replaced the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) and has been available for the last six months.