Pension Credit – It’s for you! Our campaign is launched.

A pension rallying call

Gareth Morgan and I are today launching a private campaign to get the private pensions sector to pull its finger out and encourage participation in the DWP’s valuable Pension Credit benefits that not only top-up the state pension but are a “door to more” for up to 850,000 households struggling with the cost of living crisis.

This is a rallying call to the UK’s key influencers, the charities, the banks, the insurers, the pension trusts and the utilities to support the ‘Pension Credit – its for you’ campaign.

The campaign is in response to the Pension Minister’s request for a feasibility paper to be delivered in June on the capacity of the private sector to help improve participation and help automate the application and  underwriting of this means-tested benefit

Around 1 in 3 eligible households are currently being failed. These people are missing out on £1.7bn of much needed, unclaimed ‘free money’ that is Pension Credit.  With the current cost of living crisis, the sense of urgency couldn’t be greater.


“Who are these people? 

That’s what we plan to find out. Many will have no idea that Pension Credit even exists. Many are women. Some may be income poor and housing rich and feel they won’t be eligible, but you can’t buy a sausage with a brick.

“What’s more, Pension Credit is the ‘door to more’, topping up what people get from the state to a level approximate to the full State Pension, whilst unlocking many smaller state pension benefits to get help with housing, fuel, and even free TV licences.

“So far, the private sector has been reluctant to use its money and the data it holds to ensure pensions are topped up.  With the backing of the Pensions Minister we aim to get as many organisations and supporters on board to help these 850,000 households access the money and other support they will likely desperately need.”


‘Pension Credit – its for you’ Campaign’s Three Step Plan to ‘make it happen’

Step one – use what is available today better: one example of positive action by the private sector:

Virgin Money has joined forces with Turn2us to help more people across the UK make sure they are not missing out on benefits they are entitled to as the nation prepares to face a tighter squeeze on their household finances from April 1.  The national poverty charity’s free, easy-to-use and anonymous benefits calculator is available on Virgin Money’s website and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.


Step two – plan for tomorrow’s technology

The pension dashboard project is an immense undertaking which will not deliver business as usual till 2025. It has been conceived primarily for savers, but it will be used by many pensioners whether they are saving or not. The information on the dashboard can flag potential applicants for Pension Credit as for the first time, the dashboard will bring together pension pots with State Pensions. By using the means test within Pension Credit, it will be possible for the dashboard to flag potential “free money” and even partially automate the Pension Credit application.


Step three – fully automate the Pension Credit application

The pension dashboard, in its first iteration, will not draw on general financial data that is needed to complete an automated application. But where it is likely that an application would be successful, the dashboard could ask an applicant for permission to find further data necessary for the completion of the task so that Pension Credit would find its customer, rather than the other way round.


Gareth Morgan, CEO of Ferret Information Systems, says:

Gareth Morgan

“The capacity of organisations such as the high street banks and auto-enrolment master trusts to analyse millions of records is an untouched resource. What is needed to motivate private sector companies to use this capability? Let’s call it “enlightened self-interest”: it is to the benefit of all that those customers are happy, but all too often, the “in-house” solution is the only one considered. But open banking and open pensions are designed to open doors to wider benefits, just as Pension Credit is the ‘door to more benefits.”


Gina Miller Leader of  the True and Fair Campaign says

“As millions across the country face the devasting effects of the cost of living crisis, and the UK faces the worst drop in living standards since 1970s, it is disgraceful that money that could help many vulnerable elderly is sitting unclaimed. 

It is scandalous that the government have not done to make 850,000 households of elderly, predominantly women, aware of their eligibility for Pension Credit, resulting in £1.7bn remaining unclaimed.  Scandalous when many of our elderly, like Elsie, are having to go to extraordinary, degrading lengths to eat and keep warm.  

As advocates for responsible capitalism, the True & Fair Party is delighted to back this campaign calling on private financial providers to provide a national service to proactively increase awareness and access to Pension Credit for vulnerable pensioners in their hour of need.

As a “gateway benefit” Pension Credit also gives eligible pensioners access to other benefits – help with rent and council tax, heating bills, free NHS dental care and free TV licenses for the over-75s.”


Paul Lewis, whose Money Box announced the campaign texts

Paul Lewis

“Like your campaign and the paper – excellent stuff!”


This Money spreads the news

The Daily Mail’s “This is Money” has produced an excellent detailed piece by Tanya Jefferies.

A drive to seek out the poorest pensioners in the country to urge them to sign up for pension credit has been launched by finance industry campaigners.

Under the slogan ‘Pension credit – it’s for you!’, they aim to use the private sector’s vast data resources to identify and come to the aid of elderly people with limited savings and income, who are likely to be hardest hit by rising living costs.


The Daily Express has produced another great article

Pension Credit shake-up proposed as 850,000 Britons miss out on £3,300 payment | Personal Finance | Finance | Express.co.uk

I like that they’ve taken it to the level of payment for the individual – this really brings it to life for people.


GB news calls it a “pensions jackpot”

UK pension jackpot looms as 850,000 Brits missing out on £3,300 payment (gbnews.uk)


Regional papers have responded magnificently

And currently leading the news – across the following regionals: Yorkshire Times, Lancashire Times, Cumbria Times, North East Post.  (Yorkshire Times as an example has 50,000 online users).

 

And it is great to have the support of Ros Altmann

Paper published

The first paper focusing on ‘Who are the 850,000 households and how can the private sector help?’ is the prequel to a more formal feasibility study requested by the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion – Guy Opperman – which will look at what the private sector can do to accelerate the take up of Pension Credit and the automation of the application and checking process for this means tested benefit.

 


How you can help

For more information or to support the campaign, please get in touch with Henry Tapper; henry@pensionplaypen.com. 

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to Pension Credit – It’s for you! Our campaign is launched.

  1. Pingback: Five compelling why pensioner poverty is all of our business | AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do

  2. Peter Beattie says:

    What is the attitude of the DWP in all of this? Do they really want to part with their ‘free money’ (Ha Ha nothing is free!). DWP is constrained by Parliament rules ‘not to misuse’ taxpayers money so what do we mean by ‘free money’? What is the status of use pensioners in failed DB schemes not getting ours via the PPF/FAS? Why is it that there is ‘free money’ available to ‘those vulnerable’ yet FAS members do not get ‘indexed linked’ income that they paid for in FAS pensions schemes with service before 1997? Public service pensioners get ‘full indexing’ – but not us1 Pleasde comment on how you cane help FAS pensioners please.

    Peter D. Beattie – FAS Pensioner and Military Veteran

    • henry tapper says:

      Peter, the DWP have an assurance from the Treasury that there is no limit to the participation rate and that 100% would be fine.

  3. Pingback: Today is Pension Credit Awareness Day – Tell Aunty! | AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do

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