Figures from Independent Age have revealed that 2,481 pensioners in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency are not claiming the Pension Credit they are entitled to.

More than 2,481 households in Motherwell and Wishaw who are entitled to Pension Credit do not receive the benefit, which is designed to keep the least well-off pensioners out of poverty. Currently, just six in ten (61%) people who are entitled to this payment are receiving it – leaving many forced to choose between heating and eating.

Independent Age also say that delivering Pension Credit to those who are entitled can save the NHS and social care systems £8.6m each year. Whereas maximising Pension Credit payments in Motherwell and Wishaw would cost only £4.7m.

People aged 75+ who are claiming Pension Credit can also claim a free TV license.

SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, is calling for pensioners to check if they are eligible and is backing Independent Age’s call for the UK Government to put in place an action plan to increase Pension Credit uptake.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows MP said:

“I’m deeply concerned about the high number of older people in Motherwell and Wishaw who are not receiving the Pension Credit they’re entitled to. I’m backing Independent Age’s call for the UK Government to urgently put in place an action plan to turn this situation around.

“The knock-on effects on the NHS and care systems are costing taxpayers £8.6 million in Motherwell and Wishaw alone. If we can look after our older people by putting more money in their pockets and keeping them out of hospital and care, then we should absolutely do that.

“A take-up rate of only 61% for an entitlement designed to keep older people out of poverty is indefensible – and this rate has stayed stagnant for a decade. Without this money, many people are prevented from living with dignity and having a social, well-connected later life.

“The Government’s action plan needs to include a fresh look at roles and responsibilities relating to Pension Credit, putting a stop to blaming older people for this problem.”

You can claim Pension Credit online; calling 0800 99 1234 (textphone: 0800 169 0133).