West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Almost £200million lost to our economy annually through unclaimed elderly benefits - Boyle

Published: 20 May, 2015

Sinn Féin MLA Michaela Boyle has said she is shocked that at a time when older people suffer from persistent high levels of poverty, nearly £200m of benefits are going unclaimed.

The West Tyrone MLA said:

"At present many older people entitled to Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Lone Pensioner Credit are not actually receiving their rightful entitlements because the system of claiming is unnecessarily complicated and bureaucratic.

"The DSD Minister Mervyn Storey needs to devise a strategy to ensure everyone eligible for assistance receives the full benefits they are entitled to.

"He must put in place mechanisms, which will inform people - from first-time claimants to the elderly of exactly what they are entitled to. The present take-up programmes are not fit for purpose.

"Those mechanisms would make a contribution to addressing levels of poverty, increasing levels of disposable income in local economies which would increase business and therefore potential job creation opportunities. This is real money that is being lost to our economy.

"At a time when the Tory government intends to impose another £12billion in cuts to welfare the onus should be on the Minister to take whatever action necessary to ensure those entitled to this money are made aware of their entitlements and receive them."