Millions of pensioners are missing out on hundreds of pounds worth of retirement income by failing to claim state benefits to which they are entitled, a new survey has found.
Just Retirement Solutions, the specialist financial advice arm of the Just Retirement Group, has revealed that more than half of consumers seeking advice on equity release were failing to claim any or all of the state benefits they are entitled to last year.
A fifth of pensioners were failing to claim any benefits at all, a rise of two per cent from 2010. By failing to apply for benefits such as pension credits, the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes, these people are missing out on an average of £872 a year.
Just over a third (34 per cent) of pensioners are claiming some of these benefits, but they are still missing out on an average of £676 a year.
In total, between two and three million retirees are missing out on hundreds of pounds that is rightfully theirs as they unaware of their entitlements.
Stephen Lowe of Just Retirement claimed that the figures provide more evidence of a so-called squeezed middle of pensioners who are finding it hard to make ends meet in the current economic climate.
He said: "Our concern is that there are huge numbers of people struggling with their day to day finances who only find out they are missing income when they turn to professional help because they can no longer make ends meet."
Mr Lowe added that, although more older people are looking to unlock the value of their homes to help supplement their retirement income, they should first ensure that they are receiving full benefits.
"Many of those we advise have worked all their lives and have perhaps never claimed any benefits," he added.
"They know about the state pension, but may imagine that because they own their own homes, often valued at more than the national average, they are not eligible for any further state help."
Earlier this year, the Department for Work and Pensions released figures that showed only around two-thirds of people are taking up their entitlement to the Pension Credit.
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Tax allowances and state benefits