Author Topic: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing  (Read 7282 times)


Ricardomeister

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #1 on: 10 Jul 2012 04:35PM »
Means testing is not the answer imo. Taking the winter fuel allowance off higher rate taxpayers would save about £100 million, but then you would have to factor in the significant costs of administering the means testing for over 12.5 million pensioners, which would drastically reduce any savings.

The other thing to bear in mind with any means tested benefit is that many people who are entitled do not claim it. That may save the government some more money, but would defeat the object of getting the benefit to those who are most in need. Pension credit, for example, is means tested and official figures show that between 32% and 38% of those who are entitled do not claim it.

If a simple and fair way of getting the money off higher rate taxpayers can be achieved through the tax system then fair enough, but it is going to make a tiny impact on the deficit (just like with the benefit cap, which was given huge publicity but estimated savings are less than £300 million). It is a shame that such minimal areas of potential savings receive so much publicity whereas, for example, the many billions wasted on unnecessary nuclear weapons and lost to tax evasion, which could make a large impact on the deficit, are largely ignored.

As for means testing tv licences, the IFS figures for 09/10 show just over 4 million concessionary licences for "elderly people", costing £549 million. I cannot see any real savings being made from means testing that "benefit".

oldtone27

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #2 on: 10 Jul 2012 04:52PM »
A question I have not seem answered is what is the definition of a 'better off' pensioner.

One might consider Lord Sugar and Paul McCartney to be 'better off' but I suspect the government would probably set a cut of as those who did not qualify for pension credit. I would not regard those just above the limit as 'better off'

It maybe that pensioners paying higher rate tax could be considered and that would be a fairer limit. Wouldn't catch that many I suspect.

I agree means testing is not likely to be a cost effective way of administering the change so perhaps paying universally as at present but clawing back through income tax, a la child benefit might be one way.

I have heard it argued that these better off pensioners have almost certainly paid handsomely through taxes during their working life so the benefits are only what they are due.


Pentesalie

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #3 on: 10 Jul 2012 05:05PM »
Agree with you wholeheartedly, Ricardo >thumbsup<

Sofie

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #4 on: 10 Jul 2012 05:30PM »
I wonder how many pensioners would qualify for a bus pass on the basis of disability if it was withdrawn on basis of age?

Also, isn't giving someone a bus pass encouraging them to stop driving as much and encouraging them to go out? Someone going out generally means they buy things, which helps the economy.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #5 on: 10 Jul 2012 06:30PM »
Perhaps the Government would like to consider something really radical...

...how about paying a more adequate basic state pension in the first place?

Sofie

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #6 on: 10 Jul 2012 06:36PM »
Aren't they considering a £140 per week pension for all?

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #7 on: 10 Jul 2012 06:38PM »
I don't know, Sofie - can you remember where you saw that information?



KizzyKazaer

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #10 on: 10 Jul 2012 06:49PM »
Thanks, both  >tah<

It doesn't seem to have met with approval from the National Pensioners Convention, though..

Britain's biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) criticised the move.

Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: "The proposal to merge the basic and second state pensions into a single £140 a week payment is a classic case of smoke and mirrors – given that someone could retire today and get a combined basic and second state pension of £150 a week.

"In reality there will be no extra money to raise Britain's scandalously low state pension – just a different way of packaging the payment. Not only that but it will also create a two-tier pension system with existing pensioners still having to struggle with a complicated means-tested system that leaves one in four older people in poverty."


I'd be interested in the views of any of our pensioner Ouchers!

Frances

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #11 on: 10 Jul 2012 07:22PM »
As someone who is on Pension Credit and nearly 70.I know how much it helps.
 I also know the older I get the more difficult I find it to make my brain get around all the rules and regulations.
 What they need is someone who actually comes and helps people like me claim.
As I am sure the majority of us don't have any idea what help is available or how to get it.
It seems what they are planning is really going to make life even more complicated for us .
I was self employed most of my life and cared for my eldest son before he died .
Then I nursed my mother for 7 years.
By then my second son was ill and I have cared for him , he is now 31 and will need care for the rest of his life.
All this time working as well.
 I get a small amount added to my Pension credit for this.
But if they cap it at £140. I will lose about £60 a week.
 Which just about covers our fuel bills  as His washing means the washer Drier is on 24/7.
That and the fact we will most likely lose DLA is very scary  !!! >yikes<

devine63

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jul 2012 07:30PM »
Hi Frances

my understanding is that the £140 per week is a guaranteed minimum, they are not planning to cap older people's benefits as far as I know, so you should continue to get what you get now.... except that as you said, there is the transition to PIP to cope with for your son (I think older people get to keep their DLA).
regards, Deb

Sofie

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #13 on: 10 Jul 2012 07:34PM »
That's my understanding, Deb. So those who have an underlying entitlement to carers allowance, receive DLA or AA, get the top ups.

Frances

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Re: Tories target pensioner benefits for means-testing
« Reply #14 on: 10 Jul 2012 07:50PM »
Thanks Ladies. Just got PIP for Ry to worry about then . >whistle<