Pensioner Benefit Reform

The election manifestos for the 2019 election, contained a range of commitments to protect pensioner benefits but it looks like pensioner benefit reform is back on the agenda with this House of Commons Research Briefing – published 14/1/2020 providing an overview of the main “pensioner benefits” and the debate on how and whether they should be reformed.

A few of interesting statistics noted below with the full Briefing Paper now in the CAN Members Research Library

State Pension

In 2019/20 an estimated £124 billion of DWP benefit spending is directed at pensioners – around 56% of all welfare spending in Great Britain.

Within the £124 billion total directed at pensioners, the State Pension accounts for £99 billion (80%)

Other important strands of pensioner benefit spend in 2019/20 are:

• Disability benefits (Attendance Allowance, DLA and PIP): £11.1 billion (9.0% of pensioner benefit expenditure)

• Housing benefits: £5.6 billion (4.6%)

• Pension Credit: £5.0 billion (4.0%)

• Winter Fuel Payment: £2.0 billion (1.6%)

Attendance Allowance

In May 2019 there were 1.57 million people on Attendance Allowance in Great Britain, with a total expenditure on Attendance Allowance in Great Britain is estimated at £5.89 billion in 2019/20

In December 2015 the then Government announced that it would consider “giving more responsibility to councils in England, and to Wales, to support older people with care needs. Following concerns raised by stakeholders (of the 225 responses that commented on Attendance Allowance, 98% were against its devolution), the then Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid announced in January 2017 that Attendance Allowance would no longer be considered as part of the business rates reforms

Disability Living Allowance

In May 2019, 698,000 people of State Pension age in Great Britain were on DLA (42% of the total caseload) with a total expenditure on DLA in Great Britain for people of State Pension age is estimated at £3.28 billion in 2019/20 (45% of all DLA expenditure in Great Britain).

Personal Independence Payment

As of May 2019, there were 293,762 people of State Pension age who were on PIP, with ages ranging between 65 and 71.54 Total expenditure on PIP for people of State Pension age in Great Britain in 2019/20 is estimated at £1.94 billion, which accounts for 15% of total expenditure on PIP.

Carers Allowance

Expenditure on Carer’s Allowance for people over State Pension age is estimated to be around £31 million in 2019/20. As of May 2019, around 344,539 claimants over State Pension age in Great Britain satisfied the care conditions for Carer’s Allowance, but because of the overlapping benefits rule only around 12,367 (3.6%) actually received a Carer’s Allowance payment.


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