Pensioners stand one in five chance of living in poverty: ‘This is unacceptable!’

State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify

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Growing old is an increasingly difficult task financially, with rising numbers of people spending their retirement in poverty rather than bliss. The impact of poverty also doesn’t end with financial issues as it can greatly affect physical and mental wellbeing, which the elderly are already more vulnerable towards.

The Centre for Ageing Better shared their State of Ageing 2022 report, which highlighted the mounting issues facing England’s elderly. 

The report found that one in five pensioners, over two million people, were living in poverty. 

This has also impacted life expectancy and the number of years people could expect to be in good health as poverty comes with its own set of disabling conditions. 

Many believe the root cause of pensioner poverty lies with state pension, as it is ranked as one of the worst in Europe providing roughly 58 percent of previous work earnings. 

Comparatively, the OECD average is 62 percent. 

This is particularly concerning as a worrying amount of people edging close to their retirement in the UK do not have other pension savings. 

Unbiased.co.uk found that roughly 17 percent of people in the UK aged 55 and over have no pension savings, while the average across the UK is 21 percent. 

For those that do manage to set aside funds for their later life, it is often not close to the amount necessary, as the average pension pot sits at £50,000. 

Most financial experts recommend Britons save roughly 20 to 25 times their annual expenses for retirement. 

Meaning that those who spend £30,000 per year will need a pension pot of £600,000. 

Additionally, while many hope they won’t need to be concerned about rent in their retirement, the report found the number of older private renters is at a record high. 

Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, Morgan Vine, shared: “We know that poverty in later life is increasing with more than two million people over 65 living in poverty today. 

“With the cost-of-living crisis and the triple lock being suspended, older people are being hit financially from every angle. 

“Progress to better support older people has been too slow. With the financial pressures mounting, it is vital the government takes action now.”

She added that Independent age regularly hears from pensioners who are deeply concerned about their rising bills, with some “surviving just on soup, going to bed with a hat on and only boiling their kettle once a day so they can afford to have the heating on even for a little while.”

Recent research by Independent Age revealed that older people who spent one year in poverty are twice as likely to not have a filling meal everyday.

These people are also three times more likely to have a cold home. 

Ms Vine continued: “Many people in later life living on a low income tell us they feel ignored, and that their problems are not taken seriously by the government.  

“It’s easy to see how people are reaching this conclusion when looking at the lack of action from the government to increase the uptake of essential benefits like Pension Credit. 

“This financial support has the potential to lift almost 450,000 older people out of poverty, yet uptake remains woefully low. 

“Latest figures suggest up to £1.7billion set aside to help older people is not reaching them.

“This is simply unacceptable.”

Pension Credit is available to Britons over the state pension age who are on a low income. 

It can top up one’s weekly income to £182.60 if they are single and £278.70 if they have a partner. 

A Government spokesperson said: “The latest figures show there are 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty, both before and after housing costs, compared to 2009/10. From April, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension is now over £2,300 higher than in 2010 and we continue to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to make a claim.

“We recognise the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, which is why we’re providing support worth £22 billion this financial year and next to help. This includes supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills through our Winter Fuel Payments, freezing fuel duties to keep costs down and helping households through our £9.1 billion Energy Bills Rebate.”

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