Mayor launches campaign urging older Londoners and carers to claim heating benefits
11:33am Friday 9th January 2009 in News
A new information campaign has been launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson aimed at reminding older Londoners and carers to claim benefits that will help cut their heating bills over the winter.
The Your Rights campaign will see around 3000 posters put up at GP surgeries, community centres, libraries and older people’s organizations highlighting the monetary help available to them.
It comes as vulnerable pensioners struggle to pay their fuel bills because they have spiralled so alarmingly, leaving many having to decide whether they will eat or keep warm.
It is estimated that up to a third of older Londoners do not take advantage of benefits they are entitled to.
Figures show pensioners could be eligible for around £50 a week in additional cash and, over their lifetime, could be losing out on up to £50,000 in unclaimed benefits.
The most commonly unclaimed benefits are pension credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit. An estimated £4.2 billion in benefits for older people go unclaimed each year.
Research by the London School of Economics found that last year around half of those eligible for additional benefits could receive enough financial support to cover all their heating costs.
Equally, many carers may be losing out on up to £1,400 each year by not claiming Carer's Allowance which is a taxable benefit to help people who look after someone who is disabled.
The mayor’s campaign also aims to provide people with practical advice and assistance on cutting their heating bills and making their homes warmer.
Johnson said: "As the temperature plummets, it is vital that our older citizens claim cash which would help them worry less about the cost of heating their home."