Nick Smith MP is supporting a campaign to make sure thousands of older people in Blaenau Gwent are receiving the Pension Credit they are due.
The charity Independent Age estimates that 2239 pensioners are missing out on a combined £5,633,000 every year in Blaenau Gwent.
Across Wales £214m is being missed out on by 80,000 people.
The ‘Credit Where It’s Due’ campaign is calling on the UK Government to ensure that at least 75% of eligible people receive Pension Credit by the end of 2020, at least 95% by the end of 2022, and 100% by 2025.
Nick Smith MP said: “Pension Credit is a weekly benefit that helps make sure older people have enough money to live on.
“Sometimes it is not taken up because people are not aware that they are entitled to it, or perhaps because of the stigma of receiving ‘a benefit’.
“I would strongly urge people to apply for Pension Credit.
“It’s worth it even if you only get a few extra pounds a week, as there are many extra entitlements that come with it – like free NHS dental treatment and check-ups, free sight tests, vouchers for glasses and contact lenses, help with travel costs to and from hospital and Cold Weather Payments.”
Mr Smith has been vocal in his opposition to controversial changes which will see free-TV licences for over-75s being tied to Pension Credit from 2020. He called for a U-turn recently in Parliament, saying that that Government should take back responsibility for the cost after offloading it to the BBC.
“Although I believe this Government should restore free TV licences for everyone over the age of 75, those entitled to Pension Credit should apply now to make sure they still benefit when the changes are brought in next year,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith added: “This Government is failing to make sure that everyone entitled to this assistance is receiving it.
“A good start would be simplifying the application process, then there needs to be an ambitious action plan put in place which goes beyond raising awareness to make sure that no older person is missing out.”
More information can be found at https://www.independentage.org/information/money/benefits/pension-credit or by calling the Independent Age helpline 0800 319 6789.