New figures released by Age Scotland have revealed that older people on low income missed out on £88 million in Council Tax Reduction support last year, showing that much more needs to be done to boost people’s understanding of the financial support available.
With residents across Scotland receiving their council tax bills for this financial year, Age Scotland are estimating that hundreds of thousands of older people are missing.
Figures released as part of the charities ‘Check In, Cash out’ social security awareness campaign say that with 150,000 pensioners live in poverty and tens of thousands more, are living on the edge of it, this huge sum of unclaimed support would make a real difference.
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Slogan explains that “this astonishing level of underclaimed Council Tax Reduction, among other sources of financial support such as Pension Credit, could be making a real difference to the lives of those older people on low incomes driving down levels of poverty and boosting their wellbeing.”
Age Scotland are campaigning to raise older people’s awareness and increase the uptake in the financial support available to help them live well, while working to change the narrative about social security, removing the stigma and painting it in a more positive light.
Age Scotland believe that the support offered by Council Tax Reduction is one of most widely unclaimed benefits and is heavily linked to missing Pension Credit support. Figures, confirmed by the Scottish Government, show that in the 2019-20 financial year, the average award for Council Tax Reduction for people in Scotland, over 65 was £716.56.
Brian Sloan further goes on to explain that “Age Scotland’s helpline identified around £500,000 in unclaimed social security for older people last year but that is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. Every year hundreds of millions of pounds in vital financial support is missed by those who are unaware it exists, don’t know where to turn for help to claim, are locked out as they aren’t online, or feel stigma about needing this help.”
Age Scotland are offering support through free information guides and free eligibility checks through their helpline, while also offering to help people make a claim.
Call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for free eligibility checks, as well as advice and free guides on Council Tax Reduction and other social security such as Pension Credit, Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance.
Age Scotland’s information guide on Council Tax Reduction and their “Check in, Cash out” campaign is available at www.age.scot/CheckInCashOut.