One in seven people aged 65 and over has been turning to loans and credit cards to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis, according to a survey. The Independent Age charity said its research suggests many older people are struggling alone and racking up debt as costs escalate.
The organisation said pride was the biggest barrier to asking for financial support, with 32 per cent citing this. Research for the charity by Opinion Matters involved a survey of 2,000 people under the age of 65 and 1,002 aged 65 and above in May this year, it showed that one in six (16%) of older survey respondents said they feel isolated due to their financial situation.
More than half (57%) said they would not feel comfortable asking friends or family for financial support while 9% said they are hiding debt from their family. Around 13 per cent said they have spent money they do not have rather than admitting to friends and family that they are struggling financially .
Veteran radio DJ Tony Blackburn, 80, who is supporting the campaign, said: “There’s a misconception that everyone in later life enjoys a financially comfortable retirement. The hidden reality is that more than two million older people in the UK live in poverty.
“That’s why I’m supporting Independent Age’s aim to improve the lives of one million older people by 2027. Living in financial hardship affects older people’s health, intensifies loneliness and reduces their quality of life – so I’m supporting Independent Age’s work to prevent and alleviate it.”
The research also found concern among young people about their futures, with 44 per cent of people aged 18 to 64 in the UK saying financial security is their biggest concern about getting older, compared to over a quarter (27%) who said loneliness is their biggest concern.
The findings come shortly after Age UK warned a “great un-retirement” could be getting underway as rising living costs force people to change their later life plans.
The charity said it is continuing to hear from older people whose retirement aspirations “are being ruined by the impact of inflation”.
Independent Age is launching its ‘Hidden 2 Million’ campaign on Thursday, referencing the more than two million people over 65 who it said are known to be living in poverty “with at least a further one million also experiencing financial hardship”.
John Palmer, from the charity, said: “These findings clearly show why our renewed focus on financial hardship in later life is desperately needed. Every day, we receive harrowing calls from frightened older people who are worried about their finances, but it is clear that many more are struggling alone and relying on credit cards and loans as costs continue to escalate.
“Poverty in later life was already a problem before the cost-of-living crisis, and it will continue to be a huge concern even when costs do reduce.
“We believe that no one should face financial hardship in later life. We urge all older people struggling financially to reach out to charities such as Independent Age, or friends and family where possible.”
Older people who want to check if they are eligible for certain benefits can call the Independent Age helpline free on 0800 319 6789.
Who should check for unclaimed benefits or discounts?
There is a wide range of benefits and payments available people of every age should check for.
You should check if:
- you are temporarily unable to work, including because of ill health
- you are of working age on a low income
- you’re over State Pension age on a low income
- you have been made redundant
- you are looking for work
- you are raising a family
- you have a child who is disabled or has a health condition
- you are disabled or have a health condition
- you’re caring for someone
- you have lost a loved one
How to check eligibility for benefits or payments
The quickest way to check is to use an online confidential benefits calculator – there’s even one that checks eligibility for devolved benefits. Below is everything you need to know about benefits calculators including what they check for and how to use them.
What is an online benefits calculator?
Online benefit calculators quickly work out if you are missing out on any benefits and best of all, they are completely free, independent and confidential to use – so there’s nothing to lose.
In just a few minutes you could find out how much you may be able to claim in extra support, just by entering details about yourself, your residential status, your working status and any savings you have.
You can use an independent benefits calculator to find out:
- What benefits you could get
- How to claim
- How your benefits will be affected if you start work
Latest State Pension News
Where to find help
This online tool is the first to fully integrate devolved benefits, including the Scottish Child Payment. It provides a free and impartial assessment of entitlement to a range of benefits such as Universal Credit, crisis grants and support payments.
Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours.
Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit, how these are calculated and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours.
Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
What you will need
You will need accurate information about your:
Income, including your partner’s
Existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)
Outgoings (such as rent, mortgage, childcare payments)
Latest Council Tax bill
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