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The Take-Up of Multiple Means-Tested Benefits by British Pensioners: Evidence from the Family Resources Survey

  • Ruth Hancock
  • Stephen Pudney
  • Geraldine Barker
  • Monica Hernandez
  • Holly Sutherland

Non-take-up of means-tested benefits among pensioners is of long-standing concern. It has assumed increased importance from October 2003 with the introduction of the new means-tested pension credit to which about half of pensioners are expected to be entitled. We use Family Resources Survey data from April 1997 to March 2000 to investigate patterns of pensioner take-up of income support (IS) (subsequently renamed the minimum income guarantee and now subsumed in pension credit), housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB). Although 36 per cent of pensioners in our sample failed to claim their entitlements to at least one of these benefits, only 16 per cent failed to claim amounts worth more than 10 per cent of their disposable income. Generally, take-up is high where entitlement is high. But there are exceptions which may reflect the claims process and/or a greater degree of social stigma associated with IS than with HB or CTB.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 25 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 279-303

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:25:y:2004:i:3:p:279-303
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