Over 50% of pensioners are missing out on hundreds of pounds a year of state benefits they are entitled to, according to research published by Just Retirement Solutions yesterday.
The retirement intermediary's latest survey of its clients found that 23% were failing to claim any benefits they were eligible for and as a result were losing an average of £650 of income each year. The highest amount unclaimed was £3,631 a year.
A further 33% of people were not claiming their full benefit entitlement and, as a result, were losing out on an average of £213 a year. The highest amount unclaimed was £2,365.
Stephen Lowe, Just Retirement's group external affairs and customer insight director, said: 'Many pensioners are struggling to make ends meet due to insufficient pension income and depressed savings returns.
'At the same time they are missing out by failing to claim the benefits they should be receiving, often to the tune of hundreds of pounds each year that could make a real difference to their quality of lives.'
Just Retirement's figures indicate an increase in the percentage of people failing to claim any benefits they are eligible for compared to in the same survey last year, where 20% of respondents had not done so.
While the average value of the benefits these people were missing out on fell significantly from £872 recorded last year, Lowe suggested this might be a reflection of the benefits regime becoming 'less generous'.
In terms of individual state benefits, the company's survey sound Guaranteed Pensions Credit was most likely to be claimed, with only 1% of clients failing to claim any entitlement and only 4% not claiming the full amount they were entitled to.
However, Savings Pensions Credit was claimed by 11% of customers, and not the 19% who were eligible for it, and Council Tax Benefit was only claimed by 26% of customers, and not the 48% who could have received it.
Lowe added: 'Part of the problem is what people perceive as the constant tinkering with the benefit rules that make it hard for people to keep up with complexities.
'Already this year, plans for a new flat-rate state pension have been announced and over the next two years we are seeing the introduction of the new Universal Credit and various other changes. If you are not professionally involved it is hard to keep up.'