98,000 not claiming their pension in a tale of two Londons

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Photo: Lasse Kristensen ┃Shutterstock.com

The number of elderly people who do not claim their state pension has risen to nearly 98,000. That is 9% of those eligible, and it has increased since the end of last year.

The proportion of eligible OAPs claiming the pension fell across the country from 99% in November 2014 to 97% in May 2015. And these latest figures show that in London it is now down to just 91% from 93% in the same period.

This highest level of non-claimants is in the traditionally wealthy central boroughs, which may suggest that they feel that they have sufficient money so do not need the state pension.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in the Kensington and Chelsea and in Westminster fewer than three quarters of eligible over 65s are receiving their state pension. The claim rate is below 80% in two other areas, Camden and the City of London.

Pension recipients

But the rate of pension recipients has fallen across the capital. The only boroughs with the same proportion as the national rate are the outer areas of Havering, Bexley and Bromley.

Pensions data underlines a tale of two Londons. The city may have the highest level of pensioners not claiming their entitlement, but it also has the highest rate in Great Britain of pensioners who are getting additional support through pension credits.

Pension credits are paid to those who have very low income, and as a reward to those who have modest savings or a small private pension to supplement their state income.

The latest data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that 14% of over 60s across Britain receive a credit. That’s down 1% on last November. The rate has fallen by a similar proportion in London as well, but it is still at nearly 19%. The North East is the closest to London, but rates are significantly lower in all other regions.

The highest rate of pension credit claimants is in Tower Hamlets where 38.5% of over 60s are getting this support. Yet Tower Hamlets has the fifth lowest rate of pension recipients in the capital with 14% not claiming. This perhaps demonstrates the gap between rich and poor in the borough that contains both deprived areas and the wealth of Canary Wharf.

Pension credit claimants

Other boroughs with high rates of pension credit claims are Hackney with 35% and Newham with 33%. Only Richmond and the City of London have lower than 10%.

Pension recipient data

Pension credit data

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Elderly show wealth divide – 75,000 not claiming pension, more rely on benefits

pensioner coupleNearly 75,000 elderly people in London are not claiming their state pension. That’s 7% of the people eligible and a unique London phenomenon as claimant rates elsewhere are 99 or 100% and only in the South East of England does it fall below that, to 98%.

The majority of non-claimants are in traditionally wealthy boroughs, which may suggest that they feel no need of the benefit or that an itinerant lifestyle means it is difficult for them to claim it.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in the Kensington and Chelsea only three quarters of eligible over 65s are receiving their pension, in Westminster it is 77%, in Camden 80% and in the City of London 81%. Through most of central London the proportion is a little over 90%. Only the outer boroughs of Havering and Bromley have the national rate of 99%.

Pensioners recipients

While London has the highest level of pensioners who don’t receive a state pension, it also has the highest proportion in the country of pensioners receiving a pension credit.

Pension credits are paid to those who have very low income, and as a reward to those who have modest savings or a small private pension to supplement their state income. 15% of OAPs across the UK receive a credit. In London it is nearly 20%.


See also

Younger workforce makes capital’s population pensioner poor

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The breakdown by borough underlines the divide between rich and poor across the capital, and some of the variation within boroughs. As the map above shows, Tower Hamlets has 9% of its pensioner not claiming a pension. But as the map below shows, it also has 40% on pension credits.

Pensioners credit

The borough includes some deprived areas but also the sparkling skyscrapers and riverside flats of Canary Wharf. In the neighbouring boroughs of Hackney and Newham 35% or more are receiving pension credit. In Richmond and the City of London it is under 10%.

Pension recipient data

Pension credit data