Age NI statement on the cost of living Age NI Press Release26 May 2022 Age NI calls for immediate action by local politicians to unlock financial support for older people in Northern Ireland. Charity warns life is becoming unaffordable as almost 40% of older households will be unable to cover essential spending this year. Pensioners urged to check their benefits to put more money in their pockets. In response to today’s announcement by the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Age NI is calling on Northern Ireland politicians to get back to business and unlock much-needed financial support for tens of thousands of older people. According to the latest cost of living research from Age UK, around 65,000 households aged 60+ in Northern Ireland will have insufficient income to cover their essential spending this year, with around 25,000 (almost 40%) living in poverty or just above the poverty line and/or in receipt of benefits. Age NI says clarity is needed on how and when Northern Ireland pensioners will be able to access the whole package of measures announced today. It fears that the full extent of the payments outlined will only be available to older people here if local politicians get back round the table and agree how the money will be accessed. Eithne Gilligan, Age NI Head of Policy said, “This announcement will provide some welcome relief for older people across the UK. What we need to ensure is that older people here in Northern Ireland get timely and equal access to what has been promised - and in full - and that they are not disadvantaged because of our political situation. “We are hearing from pensioners who are feeling financial pressure and already living in fear of the coming months ahead. They need this money in their pockets now.” The charity is urging older people to ensure they are claiming the benefits which open up access to some of the key payments announced by the Chancellor, in particular Pension Credit. “What today’s announcement highlights is the importance of ensuring that older people are claiming all of the benefits to which they are entitled. “Age NI helps hundreds of older people to discover what they are entitled to and how to claim through our Advice Line. These benefits entitlements are rightfully theirs, and many older people don’t know they are eligible to claim. Last year alone we helped to unlock over £1million in unclaimed benefits for older people here. Pension Credit opens the door to a wide range of other financial support. With prices continuing to rise, life is not going to be easy over the coming months and these payments could become life-changing. We would urge all older people to check this as a matter of urgency and put in a claim without delay." For more information or call our free advice line on 0808 808 7575, or check what benefits you could be entitled to by checking out our Benefits Calculator.