Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Minister targeting the elderly - Anderson

27 January, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has called on Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie to scrap new regulations which would restrict the amount of benefit payments available to pensioners here.

"Under the proposed amendments to the Social Security regulations, the timeframe for which people can claim Pension Credit back payments will be reduced from 12 months to three months," Ms. Anderson commented.

"There is already a significant issue regarding the under claiming of Pension Credits. Research has shown that as many as half of all pensioners here may not be receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled.

"At a time when the Social Development Minister should be taking additional measures to encourage benefit uptake, Margaret Ritchie is actually implementing a policy which will restrict the amount of money that pensioners can claim.

"I believe that this is completely unacceptable particularly as the Minister's own committee has already warned her that this policy may have a significant adverse impact on vulnerable pensioners.

"This is the same Minister who sought to exclude pensioners from receiving fuel poverty payments and I would urge her to scrap these proposals immediately." ENDS

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