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The take-up of multiple means-tested benefits by British pensioners. Evidence from the Family Resources Survey

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

    ()

Abstract

Non take-up of means-tested benefits among pensioners is of longstanding concern. It will assume increased importance from 2003 with the introduction of the new means-tested Pension Credit, which will subsume Income Support and to which about half of all pensioners are expected to be entitled. In this paper we use Family Resources Survey data spanning the period April 1997 to March 2000 to investigate patterns of take-up of the three main means-tested benefits to which pensioners may be entitled – Income Support (IS), Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Benefit (CTB). We find that although 36% of pensioners in our sample are failing to claim their entitlements to at least one of these benefits, only 16% of non claimants are failing to claim amounts worth more than 10% of their income. The proportions by which claiming all entitlements would increase non- claimants’ incomes are more useful indicators than individual benefit take-up rates, of the effectiveness of means-tested benefits. In general take-up is high where entitlement is high. But there are exceptions to this which may reflect the claims process and/or a greater degree of social stigma associated with IS than with HB or CTB.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Hancock & Stephen Pudney & Geraldine Barker & Monica Hernandez & Holly Sutherland, 2003. "The take-up of multiple means-tested benefits by British pensioners. Evidence from the Family Resources Survey," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/7, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:03/7
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/econ03-7.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diewert, Erwin, 2007. "Index Numbers," Economics working papers diewert-07-01-03-08-17-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 31 Jan 2007.
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    Cited by:

    1. Corak, Miles & Lietz, Christine & Sutherland, Holly, 2005. "The impact of tax and transfer systems on children in the European Union," EUROMOD Working Papers EM4/05, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Bargain, Olivier & Immervoll, Herwig & Viitamäki, Heikki, 2007. "How Tight Are Safety-Nets in Nordic Countries? Evidence from Finnish Register Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3004, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Laurence, JACQUET, 2006. "Optimal disability assistance when fraud and stigma matter," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006052, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    4. Tomer Blumkin & Yoram Margalioth & Efraim Sadka, 2008. "The Role of Stigma in the Design of Welfare Programs," CESifo Working Paper Series 2305, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Terracol, Antoine, 2009. "Guaranteed minimum income and unemployment duration in France," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 171-182, April.
    6. Ewoudou, Jacques & Tsimpo, Clarence & Wodon, Quentin, 2009. "Stigma and the take-up of social programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4962, The World Bank.
    7. Olivier Bargain & Herwig Immervoll & Heikki Viitamäki, 2012. "No claim, no pain. Measuring the non-take-up of social assistance using register data," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, pages 375-395.
    8. Wiemers, Jürgen, 2015. "Endogenizing take-up of social assistance in a microsimulation model : a case study for Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201520, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    9. Olivier Bargain, 2009. "The distributional effects of tax-benefit policies under New Labour : a Shapley decomposition," Working Papers 200907, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    10. Michel, DE VROEY, 2006. "Getting Rid of Keynes ? A reflection on the history of macroeconomics," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006051, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    11. Anthony B. Atkinson & Chrysa Leventi & Brian Nolan & Holly Sutherland & Iva Tasseva, 2017. "Reducing poverty and inequality through tax-benefit reform and the minimum wage: the UK as a case-study," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, pages 303-323.
    12. Jürgen Wiemers, 2015. "Endogenizing take-up of social assistance in a microsimulation model. A case study for Germany," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 8(2), pages 4-27.
    13. Tomer Blumkin & Efraim Sadka & Yoram Margalioth, 2008. "The Role of Stigma in the Design of Welfare Programs," Working Papers 0806, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    benefit take-up; pensions; means-testing; welfare participation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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