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DISPATCHES

Did anyone see Dispatches last night about pensioners’ benefits? I simply do not understand how this government dares to say “We’re all in this together” whilst increasing pensions by more than any other benefits and giving things such as winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and free TV licences to pensioners without means testing them

We’ll all be pensioners one day - or at least, most of us will (if the qualifying age isn’t 90 by then).

So I’m wary of clamouring too loudly about how good they’ve got it, because “they” will one day be “us”. Campaign now for pension benefits to be frozen or axed, and in effect, what have we done? Campaigned against our own future benefits!

Tina

No one will upset pensioners, because they are more likely to vote than any other group. Mind you, a decent society should always look after its older members. We should go after the banksters and tax avoiders instead, as this would really make a difference, but of course, they are major doners to the Old Etonian Party.

I agree with Whammel… go after the bankers and tax avoiders!

Doesn’t help when one group of benefit claiments goes against another group… I live in a building full of pensioners (sheltered) and believe me they are not exactly living it up.

But importantly, they are very supportive of NHS and disability benefits as most of them remember the dismal time before the welfare state existed.

And as Tina says, ‘they’ will be ‘us’ one day (as I’m 60 this year I should be on the verge of being one of ‘them’ but can’t claim my pension now until month before my 65th birthday… another thing that pensioners find outrageous!).

Pat x

Hello,

We deserve something later in life, from a gov we pump money into. But the arogance some of the richer pensioners show, was hard to watch.

Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, but with a few law change can be put right. But that will never happen with the eton mess. We should be chasing the bank’s for the money they lost!

Darren

It was quite hard to swallow some of the attitudes of the rich pensioners, espeicially the ex mp who said he’d spend his fuel allowance on a nice case of claret. I know a few poorer pensioners and they have to spend that money on fuel so it’s a godsend for them. I think the system is silly that it cannot allow people who do not want the fuel allowance to be unable to give it back!!! What I do think ( and I’m probably likely going to get blasted here !! ) is that both the pensioners xmas bonus and the DLA xmas bonus should be stopped. If you put all those £10.00 together it would save quite a bit of money and possibly help towards not cutting some of the other benefits. To be honest would anyone really miss the £10 ?? Also, how do people on here feel about ex - pats continuing to receive DLA when they are living abroad? Do you think it’s right or wrong? How are ATOS going to figure that one out?? Are the Atos people going to get a free holiday if they have to do a home visit to assess!!!

Strange as it may seem pensioners in extreme poverty will miss £10. Before Labour introduced the winter fuel payment the papers regularly reported people dying hypothermia. Cancelling payments for rich pensioners will cost more to administer than save, so utterly pointless.

The financial speculators caused this problem, not the poor and disadvantaged.

The argument that means testing pensioners’ additional benefits is too expensive falls a bit flat when you consider how much the government are paying not only ATOS but also the cost of all the appeals ATOS decisions generate. I don’t think for one minute that the programme was having a go at poorer pensioners, just those who don’t really need the additional benefits financially. How can it be fair to pay the winter fuel allowance to people living in hot countries, which some pensioners do?

This governmment and its minions do like to cause dissent amongst the weaker members of society. The villains of this piece are not the pensioners, please don’t forget that.

By the way DLA is not means tested. Whether benefits shoud be means tested or not is a different debate.

Sorry to disagree but the programme was about means testing the winter fuel allowance etc and not just paying it automatically, so is not a different debate. I am fully aware that DLA is not means tested, nor is contributory ESA, but they are both subject to ATOS assessments which cost the goverment a lot of money. No one is suggesting that pensioners are “villains”, just that other benefits recipients such as the disabled seem to be hit harder.

By the way, this government has already changed one non means tested benefit- child benefit. They seemed to find a way to do that.

I think all benefits and old age pensions should be means tested on household income (salary, pensions, dividends, royalties, interest, whatever) but exclude savings from the calculation.

But how you identify the cut off point and how you address the fact that someone who earns a penny more than that arbitrary number gets nothing is something that no one has yet fairly addressed. A sliding scale maybe?

Actually monitoring it might be expensive though because I don’t think all the data are known to the Inland Revenue. We’d probably all have to complete annual Tax Returns, the data from which would be shared with the DWP - and that’s a lot to administer. It would probably save more than it would cost though?

Btw, as far as I know, DLA can only be claimed by people who are resident in the UK.

Karen x

I get so annoyed when the answer ‘it will cost more than it will save’ is voiced to the question, why pay wealthier pensioners, why not cut the winter fuel allowance off at say £50,000 per annum. I know quite a few wealthy pensioners and they hang onto whatever they get, including dividends and huge private pensions. To pit the poor against the wealthy is disgraceful, there is a heck of a difference between someone living on less than £100 per week and someone who uses it for hobbies and spare cash for pressies. Living is expensive, I reckon a good pension to start with and those who definitely dont need it, at say a cut off point financially be told theyve enough to live on and since we are in recessiion surely they wouldnt mind not claiming their pension. To recoup their contributions perhaps they could be given a one off payment and be done with it.

Ive been a carer most of my life and Ill be a very poor pensioner in a few weeks time. I get sick of those saying ‘Ive worked hard so deserve my lot’ well I have probably harder than most but wont get any recognition and would love a private pension, I would then stay well away from any ‘benefit’ government offer, I wouldnt need it. The government can weedle out those who they see fit to work (be it with milliions of mistakes), so why not weedle out those who are millionaires and whom dont need government help. Boy there are some greedy people out there who would take the bread from the poors mouths. It should be our moral duty to help those in need, not those who can help but chose not to because theyre out spending their hard earned money without a care of those who suffer, morally wrong.

Ill get off my soap box now, but one day I hope all will feel for the poor and that the wealthy get some kind of gut feeling that they should be doing more and plead with government to pay their fair share. Instead we have one lot set against the other lot, baying for blood. Disgraceful.

Had to say my bit. I may be wrong but thats how I feel,

bren

x

Actually Bren what you say makes a heck of a lot of sense and I certainly don’t think you are wrong. I know some people say that the bankers and tax avoiders are the ones whose fault a lot of the problems are and that they need to pay for their wrong doings and I’m afraid the bankers and such like are the ones who will make up a good proportion of the wealthy pensioners in the future so it does make some sense to means test some allowances for pensioners, if not then those pesky old bankers and tax avoiders will STILL be getting all the money.

[quote=fudgey37]

It was quite hard to swallow some of the attitudes of the rich pensioners, espeicially the ex mp who said he’d spend his fuel allowance on a nice case of claret. I know a few poorer pensioners and they have to spend that money on fuel so it’s a godsend for them. I think the system is silly that it cannot allow people who do not want the fuel allowance to be unable to give it back!!! What I do think ( and I’m probably likely going to get blasted here !! ) is that both the pensioners xmas bonus and the DLA xmas bonus should be stopped. If you put all those £10.00 together it would save quite a bit of money and possibly help towards not cutting some of the other benefits. To be honest would anyone really miss the £10 ?? Also, how do people on here feel about ex - pats continuing to receive DLA when they are living abroad? Do you think it’s right or wrong? How are ATOS going to figure that one out?? Are the ]Atos people going to get a free holiday if they have to do a home visit to assess!!!

[/quote

Hi, I thought you couldnt claim DLA if you live abroad. Or do they keep a UK address in order to get it? Many pensioners spend the colder months in warmer climes and still get their winter fuel allowance…mmmm?

luv Pollx

It’s like Child benefit look at how much of that goes to the EU, parent’s live here in the UK claim it & send it back home!

I agree with Whemmel the reason is pensioners tend to vote more than any other age group. I have been convinced for some time that the NHS will be shut before they scrap bus passes.

I have a bus pass because I am of that age but please do not think I am saying that is right it is just what I think is going to happen.

However if what is happening in Cyprus of stealing money from bank accounts spreads many pensioners will be affected.

What irritates me is that they lived during a time when you could make so much money on cheap houses. 30K for a house and sell it on for over 200K. Now they have some perks that when im oap age will be gone. It seems the young today have to pay for the success of our grandparents.

Rant over, sorry for anon.

The pensioners who are living comfortably have been paying a high tax rate most of their working lives - money that has gone to help pay for other peoples benefits. For years my OH payed 40%of his salary in income tax.As well as his national insurance. lt took him years of studying to qualify - and in that time he worked as a street cleaner/dustman inbetween term times. When he had to give up his career- where he would be working 12/14 hrs a day and often 7days a week because of a brain tumour - he was not entitled to any benefits - and he was under pensionable age. Many elderly people might be asset rich - but cash poor. Are we the only country who give more to whoever steps onto our shores - to people who will never attribute to our welfare state - just rob us.

Many elderly have to give up their houses to finance their care in residential homes - having paid income tax/national insurance/council tax all their lives they then have it taken away.

So there are always another side to the argument. lf it wasn’t for the high earners/high tax payers - we would not have a welfare state.

Divide and Conquer, they are at it again, the pensioners are not the enemy here. There are silly things that could be changed like the cold weather payments to ex pats living the good life in the sun. But even they may not be rich but, they really dont need that :slight_smile: One thing they are entitled to is the basic old age pension, most of them having worked in hard from the age of 14-15 paying in quite a lot of money in some cases to just get the basic pension back. Ordinary pensioners (sadly lacking on the programme) are not rich believe me I know, and they don’t all qualify for the magic ‘pension credit’ either which allows them into other benefits. So don’t begrudge them a bus pass, or the few bob to stop them freezing in the winter or we go down the path of pensioner bashing like they have done with the disabled. We are not all clever enough to make a million on our houses we really struggled to buy in the first place or investing in the stock market, most of us with meagre savings which have taken a dive.

And lot of us are having to support unemployed or disabled grown up children into our old age too, not easy believe me. Deep breath…l

I was on 40% tax before ms, if i lived in their time i would own a house or two by now. I imagine when im oap age this country will be ruined. I have no assets to pay for care just like most my age. So wish i was born in their time.