Independent fact checkers have confirmed much of what This Site has said about the end of ADI – the adult dependency increase – on thousands of UK pensions.
But this has done nothing to allay This Writer’s fears about the use of so-called independent “fact check” services.
I also expressed doubts about the government’s claim that people who are set to lose around £3,500 a year as a result of the cut will be able to get a top-up from other benefits – and this is supported by a comment in the Full Fact article.
There are reasons to believe that at least some pensioners who were in receipt of ADI payments may struggle to claim the money in other ways once the payments end.
From 15 May 2019, couples who aren’t both over the State Pension age cannot make a new claim for pension credit, unless one is receiving housing benefit for pensioners.
Changes to Universal Credit mean a couple where one person is below the State Pension age are considered working-age and will share a standard monthly allowance of £498.89. It can only be claimed if the younger partner is eligible.
Steve Webb, who was minister for pensions in the Coalition government from 2010 to 2015 and is a former Liberal Democrat MP, told Full Fact he was “deeply sceptical” that the loss of ADI payments would be offset with other benefits.
He said recent changes to pension credit mean any mixed-age couples who were not already receiving the payment “have little chance of claiming it when their income drops £70 a week”, while the Universal Credit rate is “so low” that that they may not “get much even if they qualified”.
I’m not convinced about the criticisms of other reports in the Full Fact site, though.
The fact was that “It is not right to suggest all pensioners will be £70 per week worse off, given how few receive this benefit.”
But the infographic on the Wear Red – Stand up and Be counted Facebook page (for example) correctly stated that “The £70 per week allowance for adult dependents is being scrapped from April”.
It could have been better-phrased, to make it clear that not all pensioners receive that allowance – but then, why should any reader assume that they all do?
Some of us have concerns about the use of so-called “fact check” facilities, because it is possible that they could be used to reinforce particular political viewpoints.
Claims that articles are presenting fake news, that are not correctly explained (such as the Full Fact piece), do not instil any confidence at all.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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