To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure older people in difficult financial circumstances can access to the benefits they are entitled to.
The Government is committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to and the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The DWP uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits to potential customers; including information on https://gov.uk/, in leaflets and by telephone. People wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling 0800 99 1234. DWP staff in Pension Centres and Jobcentres including visiting officers are able to provide help and advice about entitlement to benefits, as are staff in Local Authorities who administer Housing Benefit.
One of the best ways to reach eligible customers is through trusted stakeholder working in the community and we have developed the Pension Credit toolkit, as an on-line tool for agencies and welfare rights organisations to use in order to encourage Pension Credit take-up. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit
The toolkit contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up. The toolkit also provides links to information about disability and carers benefits.
Most recently we have provided to relevant organisations a fact sheet about Pension Credit and forthcoming changes for couples to ensure that accurate information is available in the places where people are most likely to seek information.
The majority of people of pension age in receipt of a State Pension or another social security benefit receive their annual winter fuel payment automatically without the need to make a claim.