Job not done on pensioner poverty says Age UK

The assumption so often made that older people are comfortably off, is way off the mark, according to Age UK. With so many worried about being hard up, it is certainly not 'job done' when it comes to ending pensioner poverty.

Last year the number of pensioners living below the poverty line rose to 1.9m. Latest research finds that nearly three million (2,825,000) over-65s are now finding life a struggle financially.

Age UK regularly receives calls from concerned neighbours and family members, such as the woman who contacted them about her 80-year old relative who was sleeping in a downstairs room because it was too expensive to put the central heating on.

The gas fire was then disconnected because there was a smell of gas. The relative was also in arrears and could not afford the cost of a new fire and the fitting.

People in advanced older age, who are single, and/or who rent rather than own their own homes are at increased risk of living in poverty. As Caroline Abrahams, Age UK's Charity Director, says "Trying to make ends meet on a low income is a big challenge at any age, but if you are an older person living on your own who is praying your ageing television somehow keeps going, because you know there is no way you'll ever be able to afford to replace it, life becomes especially grim.

"Yet despite so many pensioners struggling financially, as much as £3.5 billion in financial help is going unclaimed by older people every year when this extra income could make a real difference to their peace of mind."

If you, or someone you know, is an older person worried about money, you can call Age UK advice line free of charge on 0800 169 6565, contact the local Age UK or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters, where there is also an online personalised benefits calculator to help people find out exactly what they are owed, quickly and easily.