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Charity says benefits could help lift thousands of older people in Wales out of poverty

27 May 2024 4 minute read
Picture by the Welsh Government

Claiming benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit could help lift thousands of older people in Wales out of poverty, according to a charity. 

Age Cymru is urging older people and their carers to explore what benefits and entitlements they may claim as millions of pounds go unclaimed in Wales each year.  

Last year it helped older people claim more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of Attendance Allowance and £150k in Pension Credit. Added to a range of other benefits and entitlements, the charity enabled older people to claim nearly £800k in total, worth on average £6,378 for each claimant. 

Age Cymru’s 2024 survey What matters to you found that nearly half (48%) of the 1300 plus respondents said the cost-of-living crisis prevented them from accessing the activities they would like to do such as visiting friends and relatives or attending a club at a local day centre.


Age Cymru’s Information and Advice Manager Nel Price says “It’s deeply frustrating that so many older people in Wales are struggling to pay their bills and are forced to cut back on their social activities when so much money is left unclaimed each year.   

“Not being able to afford simple pleasures such as meeting their family and friends can increase people’s sense of loneliness and isolation. 

“Attendance Allowance is one of the biggest sources of support that goes unclaimed as many people mistakenly believe that you need to have a carer attending your home to claim it, which is simply not the case. 

“Attendance Allowance is a benefit for those aged 66 or over who may need extra help to stay living independently at home.” 

Carol’s story  

Carol had started to really worry about her future when she contacted Age Cymru Advice in October 2023.

Her mobility wasn’t what it used to be. She was living in a rural property, which was unfit for her needs and was situated around two miles from the nearest bus route. Her car was her lifeline, but she wasn’t sure she could afford to keep it running for much longer.  

She decided she had to start to look for a new safer home to rent, a little closer to amenities and public transport. Not long after she started looking, she realised that the rent was far too high for her. With the cost of living increasing, she wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

Carol shared: “I was desperate, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew my income wouldn’t stretch to cover the rent anywhere else, but I couldn’t continue living where I was. I was worried I would have a nasty fall.” 

Carol contacted Age Cymru Advice on the off chance that they may know of something she could do.  

A specialist adviser explored Carol’s benefit entitlements and suggested that she apply for Attendance Allowance and helped her to understand the eligibility criteria and explained that she could get help with the application forms. They also suggested that she should contact the local authority housing department to sign up for suitable council or housing association properties.

Carol added: “My sister gets Attendance Allowance but she’s older than me – she’s 92, and she has carers supporting her. I had no idea that I could be entitled to it as I live alone, and I have nobody attending to me!”

Age Cymru followed up with Carol, and she confirmed she’s now receiving the lower Attendance Allowance rate. This had a positive impact on her Pension Credit entitlement, increasing her income by £122 a week.  

 Carol’s been in touch with Conwy and Denbighshire housing departments and is now on the list awaiting a council property.

She finished: “It’s such a huge relief. I can look to the future now. I haven’t quite got used to having a little bit extra yet, but I went out to the coffee shop for the first time in a very long time the other day, it was fantastic! I’d recommend anyone who’s in the same situation as I was to call Age Cymru. It’s been life changing for me.”

For more information call 0300 303 44 98 Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, email [email protected] or visit

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