The charity Age UK states that the number of pensioners living in poverty is now greater than 2 million. A third of Asian older people and almost a third of Black older people live below the poverty line in the UK. Sixteen percent of White older people also live below the poverty line. Since 2013/14, the number of pensioners living in poverty has risen by 31 percent from 1.6 million to 2.1 million.
Black and Asian Older People More at Risk
Black and Asian older people are more at risk of being unable to pay for necessities later in life. The over-85’s, renters and single, female pensioners are most at risk. Living in poverty means that unexpected bills do not get paid and that vulnerable pensioners cannot pay for food, clothes and heating. Almost 1.1 million pensioners are living in severe poverty which can lead to homelessness.
The 'Baby Boomer' Stereotype
The fact that one in three pensioners live in poverty indicates that this ‘baby boomer’ generation is not the stereotypical affluent retiree often portrayed in the media. Far from enjoying three holidays a year many are unable to afford essential goods and services. Many struggle with ill health and disability which generates extra costs due to needing social care. Those who live below the poverty line are unlikely to benefit from social care caps because they don’t have any money or assets.
Bring Back the Triple Lock
The return of the triple lock for state pension in 2023 would alleviate this poverty. The guarantee that the State Pension increases by the greater of a rise in average earnings, price inflation and 2.5 percent should be reinstated. This would lift pensioners out of poverty and reduce the chances of younger people being subjected to financial hardship in the future.
Apply for Pension Credit
The charity Age UK is also encouraging pensioners to apply for Pension Credit. Only 64% of those people eligible have claimed this benefit. The price of living crisis means it’s essential that pensioners find out if they are eligible for this extra support. This benefit is designed to help people over State Pension age and on a low income. Entitlement to Pension Credit means that you can receive a free TV license (if you are over 75), free NHS prescriptions, free eye tests and help with paying council tax.
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