Over the last three years, we have helped more than 4,000 of our customers secure almost £6 million in unclaimed benefits and entitlements. Furthermore, millions more over the state pension age could be unaware that they are missing out on much-needed support.
Between 2015 and 2018, our dedicated benefits and entitlements team has worked with 4,033 customers, three-quarters of which were unaware that they were eligible for Attendance Allowance. This tax-free benefit of up to £87.65 a week is for people aged over the state pension age with attention or supervision needs resulting from a mental or physical disability.
Colin Cuthbert, senior entitlements advisor at McCarthy and Stone, explains, “Our work with pensioners has revealed that there is a lack of awareness that Attendance Allowance exists, what it is and who it is for. The benefit has been put into place to support people who are 65 or over and have care or supervision needs because of an illness or disability. It is there to help with extra costs if a person has a disability severe enough that they need someone to help look after them.”
Findings suggest that potentially more than 5.3 million older people, many of whom are likely to be McCarthy & Stone homeowners, are eligible for benefits such as Attendance Allowance, but are missing out.
Colin Cuthbert, senior entitlements advisor at McCarthy and Stone, explained: “As our results have proven, many people over the state pension age are not accessing entitlements that could make a real difference to the quality of life in their later years.
“This is particularly startling when you consider that the overwhelming majority of people we have helped over recent years were classed as having a disability, and they were missing out on thousands of pounds of benefits that could help provide a much-improved standard of living.
“For many people, it isn’t just the perceived difficulty of applying to receive the payment, but there is also a widespread misconception that in order to be eligible for Attendance Allowance you will have someone visiting your home to provide general help or care. This can be an off-putting thought for those who want to maximise their independence in retirement, but it is simply not the case. The eligibility criteria does not necessarily require that the claimant receives help in their home.”
Colin Cuthbert, continues: “The support our specialist service provides is limited to McCarthy and Stone customers and is an important part of our overall purpose, which is to enrich the quality of life of our customers and their families, and to support them to live their retirement years to the full. But we are aware that we are only able to help a proportion of the 11.8 million people in the UK over the state retirement age, and we are certain many more retirees are missing out.
“We know that if customers in our developments across the UK have left millions of pounds worth of benefits unclaimed, then there must be many more across the nation in the same situation and who do not have ready access to assistance to guide them through the entitlements process. Our homeowners have access to our service as part of living in a McCarthy and Stone development, and we would urge retirees to contact an entitlements officer to find out whether they are eligible for this benefit, which can change lives.”
To find out more about our entitlements service, go to: https://www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk/how-we-help/free-entitlements-advice/ or call 0800 153 3809 to speak to our Entitlements Advice Team.