PENSIONERS in Wales could be missing out on thousands in benefit payments, Newport's newest MP has warned.

Speaking in Parliament earlier this week Newport West's Ruth Jones said she was concerned by reports that £170 million in pension credit payments went unclaimed in Wales in the 2016-2017 financial year.

Pension credit is a benefit intended to give retirees extra income. It is assessed based on pension income, and can see single people get an extra £180.98 a week, or couples £230.60 a week.


Calling the sum "a massive amount of money that could make a real difference to some of the poorest people in Wales", Labour MP Mrs Jones said: "We know that pensioners in Wales are not taking up pension credit, but how are the government monitoring this to note any recognisable trends, and what are they doing to ensure that pensioners in Wales receive the money that is rightfully theirs?"

Wales Office under-secretary Kevin Foster replied he shared Mrs Jones' concerns over the figures.

"We are engaging with people who may be eligible for these benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim state pension or report a change in their circumstances," he said. "We are also looking to work with stakeholders such as Independent Age and Age UK to discuss pension credit take-up across Great Britain. I encourage Members of Parliament to play a role in their constituencies."

South Wales Argus:

Ruth Jones

This week rules around pension credit eligibility were changed, meaning couples are only entitled to the benefit if they have both reached state pension age - meaning couples with a significant age gap could stand to lose out. However, if one partner has reached state pension age and is claiming housing benefit, they are eligible for pension credit too.

And, following Mrs Jones' question, Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane raised concerns over the changes, saying some pensioners could be £7,000 worse-off a year.

Replying, Mr Foster said: "This is about balancing fairness between the taxpayers who pay for the pension system and welfare system, and those who need to benefit from it, and we do not believe that this change is unfair.

"However, we do need to ensure that those who are entitled to pension credit take it up and receive it."

For more information on pension credit call 0800 99 1234 or visit