Government told to stop cutting pensions

Age Concern is calling on the government to abolish pension cuts
for older people who have to stay in hospital for long periods.

In its report, ‘Penalised for Being Ill’, the charity claims
that at any one time more than 30,000 sick older people suffer
extra hardship due to reduced pensions and benefits.

In September last year, 31,500 pensioners experienced reduced
pensions. Under current downrating rules the pension is reduced by
£28.30 a week after 6 weeks in hospital, and down to
£14.50 after a year.

But while they are in hospital pensioners still have to pay
ongoing costs such as fuel, insurance and TV licence, and may also
need to pay for transport and temporary help.

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern director general, said: “It’s
high time for these out-moded and unjust rules to go. Hospital
down-rating must be abolished if the government is to meet its
commitments to giving pensioners a better deal and helping them to
remain independent in their own homes.”

Age Concern recommends that pensions should not be reduced until
a year has been spent in hospital, that current rules should be
reviewed and that any cuts must leave hospitalised older people
with sufficient income to cover reasonable personal expenses plus
ongoing costs.

A spokesperson for the department for work and pensions said
that all benefits are constantly reviewed and that the comments
from Age Concern would be taken into account.



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