By Liam O’Heanai
Pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute are missing out on more than £7 million and £5 million respectively in unclaimed pension credit, a leading charity has revealed.
Independent Age estimate that £7,760,000 in person credit is going unclaimed in West Dunbartonshire, and £5,911,000 in Argyll and Bute, amid the Tory government doing virtually nothing to ensure pensioners get the help that they need.
Across Scotland more than £300 million is going unclaimed by 123,000 households.
Labour MSP for Dumbarton and Lomond, Jackie Baillie said: “The last Labour Government cut pensioner poverty, but the Tories have disgracefully allowed it to go up on their watch.
“It is shocking that West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute’s poorest pensioners are missing out on more than £12 million combined in vital support.
“The Tories’ idea for encouraging people to apply for Pension Credit – an ‘online toolkit’ – would be laughable if this wasn’t so serious.
“Across the UK the poorest pensioners have missed out on £7 billion of Pension Credit since the last election, which means vulnerable people are being left without much-needed income.
“The Tories must right this wrong immediately and do more to increase take-up of Pension Credit.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie has called on the Scottish Government to provide more money for social care as new figures show that delayed discharge is on the rise.
Delayed discharge, the practice of patients being stuck in hospital despite being medically fit to leave, usually arises because a social care package for the patient is not in place.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s latest performance report shows that at the May 2019 census point, 211 patients were stuck in hospital due to their discharge being delayed, an increase of 9 patients compared to May 2018.
The most up to date estimate calculates the average cost of each delay is £234 per day, working out to a total of £1,475,370 for May alone.
Jackie Baillie said: “Too many people are waiting too long to access social care leaving them stuck in hospital despite being ready to go home.
“Delayed discharge is a drain on NHS resources and is needlessly putting people at risk of hospital-acquired infections.
“In May alone this practice cost NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde more than £1 million.
“It is time that the Scottish Government properly funded social care to ensure that patients can receive the support and services that they need.”