The rising cost of living is causing significant hardship for pensioners, with 50% saying they are just ‘getting by’ and one in ten either finding it ‘very difficult’ or ‘really struggling’, according to a leading UK charity.
The survey of over 1,200 over 60s, conducted by Age UK, found that over a third are either buying cheaper food, or less of it and 20 percent are going out less.
Most worryingly, the study also found that 20 per cent of pensioners had to cut back on their heating over the winter months in order to make ends meet. According to the charity, an extra 25,000 older people dying during the winter months
Surprisingly perhaps, the survey also found that one in ten pensioners have outstanding debts such as a mortgage, credit card or bank loan, with levels of debt being higher among younger pensioners.
The number of pensioners in debt has increased since a similar study was carried out in 2008, which showed that one in twelve pensioners had outstanding debts such as these.
According to Age UK, “this is a worrying indication of the lengths to which many older people are going to stay afloat financially.”
The survey is part of Age UK’s ‘More Money in Your Pocket’ campaign – which is encouraging older people to claim the benefits they are entitled to.
Age UK estimates that as much as £5.4 billion in pensioner benefits goes unclaimed each year and very often it is because people are unaware of the help that is available.
Nearly two million pensioners are failing to claim council tax benefit, estimated to be worth £1.5 billion per year.
The charity’s, More money in your pocket campaign is intending to get an extra £120 million into the wallets and purses of half a million pensioners over the next year and they are calling on older people to contact their local Age UK or Age Concern, or call Age UK Advice, the charity’s free national advice line, on freephone 0800 169 65 65.
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