Pensioners: Are you aware of the Tories’ plan to cut pension credit?


Senior Citizens claiming Pension Credit will soon be subject to the same draconian system of monitoring and case reviews as the disabled and jobseekers, when the ‘assessed income period’ system is abolished in April 2016.

The Conservative-led Coalition Government included this nasty little time-bomb in its Pension Act of last year; at the moment AIPs are granted for people aged 65-plus and last for five years, during which recipients do not have to tell the Department for Work and Pensions of any changes to their income or capital but, from April 2016, they will.

People aged over 75 when the AIP is set are normally allowed it for an indefinite period but, again, this will cease from April 2016. The government will periodically harass people in their twilight years, for the sake of a few farthings.

It is expected that the abolition of these periods will have a huge impact on those least able to defend themselves –  people who receive a life cover payout following the death of a partner, or those trading down in house size, or people carrying out any of the adjustments that may be necessary on retirement.

Many will lose all entitlement to Pension Credit – but are currently unaware of the plan to cancel Assessed Income Periods.

Have you ever heard about it?

In addition, pensioners thus affected will also lose entitlement to valuable NHS benefits.

Craig Berry, writing in the TUC’s Touchstone blog in 2013 (!) told us: “The ending of the ‘assessed income period’ for Pension Credit… is a bizarre decision (explicable only in the sense that it saves the Exchequer some cash) arising from the same mindset behind the cruel introduction of a seven-day waiting period before people can claim unemployment benefits.

“They want to make it harder to claim the benefits to which we are entitled and, in many cases, desperately need.

“The government thinks that this change will save as much as £45 million per year from 2017/18 – not an inconsiderable sum given the unemployment benefit waiting period, which will cause significant hardship to many households, will bring in only £260 million from the same year.

“This policy is vital to reduce complexity within the means-tested benefit system for pensioners – an extremely complex system marred by low take-up rates. The system is about to get even messier because the Pensions Bill will effectively end ‘passporting’ between different benefits.”

The Coalition Government’s own impact assessment claims that the scheme “has not worked as effectively as it should, as they were set such that a huge volume of cases came up for review at the same time, causing delays.”

It states: “There is a strong [financial?] argument for simplifying the policy to avoid confusion about which changes needed to be reported. The proposed change would simply require all customers to report all changes in their circumstances as they occur.”

It adds: “Applying changes in retirement provision as they occur is estimated to reduce the Exchequer spend on Pension Credit by around £80m a year.” [bolding mine]

Recipients of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) know what this will mean. At the end of their lives, older people will be subjected to a constant barrage of reassessments and unheralded case reviews, as part of a strategy intended to discourage them from claiming a benefit that is theirs by legal right.

It is another reason for pensioners to abandon any support for the Conservatives – and this is why the Tories aren’t telling anyone.

Pensioners: If you vote Conservative in May, you are inviting them to stab you in the back.

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12 thoughts on “Pensioners: Are you aware of the Tories’ plan to cut pension credit?

  1. BizzieLizzie

    No-one will be safe from their greed, should they be re-elected. I fully expect pensioners will lose their winter fuel allowance, or at least have it means tested and also their free travel.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Means-testing is simply a way of getting a benefit abolished in the long run. I wrote an article about it.

  2. victedy

    What about if a frail pensioner isn’t up with all the rules/laws [that seem to change with the wind] and they end up in court for benefit fraud? This is so stupid, it beggar’s belief, but, then most pensioners’ thought that they were sitting pretty [i.e. voting Tory & believing all their BS] and now it looks like they will be in the same boat as everyone else…

  3. Mr.Angry

    They are beyond comprehension I truly don’t want to say will this interfere with their subsided restaurant account .

  4. paulrutherford8

    I am 99.9% certain that pensioners claiming Housing Benefit will also find themselves hit by the BedroomTax after the election if the Tories get back in.

    Many people think that Bedroom TAx isn’t such a big deal, in the greater scheme of things, but there may be more pensioners affected than working age people. I don’t know the figures, its just a guess.

    There is also the real possibility that DHPs will be greatly reduced, if not abolished, following a Tory win.

  5. Francis

    When this is in place (unless next govt repeal, if able) could mean that those with savings over £10k could wipe out any PC eligibility they had. Meaning potential hardship by way of having to pay part rent/council tax. Know many pensioners have children who are able to take care of this admin., but what lies in wait for those on their own, no family, nobody to help with letters from DWP/Pension service, being set up for overpayments, being chased for unpaid rent/ct. The nightmare continues. As somebody once quoted, just when you think they couldn’t sink any lower…

  6. hugosmum70

    well i suppose thats one thing to be thankful for for myself… living in a one bedroom bungalow… no bedroom tax. so instead of bemoaning the fact that living here has caused medical probs i didn’t have before… (no stairs=less exercise… 6-8 steps only from one room to another also = less exercise. not much to do re housework when you live alone and keep up to it.etc etc… looks like ill have at least one thing to be grateful for.

  7. Thomas M

    This government can’t even be trusted not to stab it’s own allies in the back. If it does do that, how will it be able to then win the 2020 election? It’s like sawing off the tree branch that one is sitting on.

  8. Joan Edington

    And of course there will be fines for all those who can’t cope and don’t notify changes immediately which they might not even realise apply to the PC.

  9. Chris

    Standard Life did a survey recently and found that people were not aware of any pension reforms, never mind the tsunami of changes coming on and from 6 April 2016.

    Please see under my petition, in my WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT section, as to why huge numbers of men and women will get NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE or as low as £55 per week state pension with no top ups.

    Please sign my petition but also Anne’s petition, because the loss of Pension Credit is within the Pension Bill 2014 (flat rate pension):

    I did know the savings component of Pension Credit was abolished by the flat rate pension 2016 that was brought in by the enactment of the Pension Bill 2014 (it takes 2 years for a bill to become law).

    But now it appears so also, by stealth, is the assessed income period so making the benefit too complex for elderly people.

    B y the raised retirement age, people as old as 73 are being denied state pension payout, are equally liable to the Bedroom Tax, benefit sanctions and loss of disability and chronic sick benefits, as all ages.

    2.6 million pensioners are only on the state pension, so far, far below the breadline already.

    The recently published Which guide to pensions, just avoided telling people of all the total losses coming to the poorest workers on and from 6 April 2016.

    These are listed on my petition.

    Labour could gain the grey vote hugely if they committed and widely publicised an immediate revoking of the Pension Bills 2010-2014 (flat rate pension 2016) and paid the state pension at 60 to men and women in 2015.

    Even the New Statesman is spreading the idea that just because the Scottish National Party will sweep the board in Scotland, Labour will lose in England and Wales, and the betting is on the Tories winning.

    There is even the daft idea that the Tory Prime Minister Cameron could remain Prime Minister in a hung parliament with lower seats gained by Labour than the Tories, but about neck and neck in amount of MPs.

    What does Mr Balls and Mr Miliband answer to that please?

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