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2 October 2017, 13:41
More than 100,000 older people in Scotland are not claiming benefits they are entitled to, the Scottish Government has said.
Embarrassment and not knowing how to claim are among the factors leaving them out of pocket by thousands of pounds in some cases.
The government and Citizens Advice Scotland have launched a new advertising campaign with the message "You've earned it - why not claim it?" to encourage people aged 65 and over to seek support from Citizens Advice on which benefits they could be eligible for such as pension credit, council tax reduction, disability and care allowances and to claim them.
The government said only six in 10 people who are eligible for Pension Credit claim it with those who do not missing out on an average of £2,000 a year, estimated to affect more than 140,000 Scottish pensioners.
The campaign highlights the reasons older people do not apply for Pension Credit and other benefits, such as lack of knowledge, reluctance to ask for help, perceived stigma, and cultural or language barriers.
Launching the campaign at Maryhill and Possilpark Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Glasgow, Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said: "Older people make a significant contribution to society and their local communities. That is why we want to ensure they are aware of all the financial support they are entitled to.
"Additional money can make all the difference to someone on a low income and help make their lives a bit easier."
She added: "Nobody - young or old - should feel any embarrassment to ask about their entitlements."
Citizens Advice Scotland's chief executive Derek Mitchell said: "Many people are entitled to claim financial support that could make a big difference to their lives, but they don't claim it because they don't know how to, and in some cases they feel embarrassed about claiming. This is often particularly true of older people.
"Our message today is that nobody need hold back from claiming what they are due. You've earned it, so claim it, and the CAB network is here to help you. Our trained advisers will assess what benefits you are entitled to and help you go about making the claim.
"The social security system can seem complex and intimidating, particularly to those not used to it. But if you are entitled to some kind of assistance that money is not charity, it is yours and you should claim it."