Income needs of older pensioners ‘same as others’

Older pensioners do not have fewer needs compared with younger pensioners, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study has found – contrary to suggestions that because they lead more restricted lives they also have reduced financial needs.

Key findings

  • Older pensioners do not need less than other pensioners for a minimum acceptable standard of living. There is no evidence they have lower expectations, or that there are systematic economies from life being less 'full'.
  • In some areas older pensioners have extra needs, such as additional heating, safety equipment and household aids.
  • Older pensioners with health conditions and disabilities can face additional costs to meet transport, heating and food, as well as care and assistance needs.
  • Older pensioners are more likely to own their homes (often away from towns or cities), leading to higher costs by way of heating, decoration and maintenance, and transport.

The authors conclude that there is a 'minor role' for age-related benefits to cover additional costs faced by older pensioners in general. In other cases – for example, where individuals need domiciliary care or support – a more targeted approach is justified, not linked to age.

Source: Yvette Hartfree, Donald Hirsch and Liz Sutton, Minimum Income Standards and Older Pensioners' Needs, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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