Brecon and Radnor AM Kirsty Williams says over 1,000 Powys pensioners could be missing out on benefits they are entitled to.

Ms Williams is encouraging older people in Brecon and Radnorshire to consider whether they’re missing out on financial support in the wake of last week’s announcement that the free TV licence for people over 75 is to be scrapped, highlighting the fact that around 1.3million people in Great Britain aren’t claiming pension credit when they’re entitled to.

However, those in receipt of pension credit would still qualify for a free licence, giving the benefit added significance, according to the Liberal Democrat AM.

“Pension credit can be a vital source of support for older people. As well as providing income support it acts as a passport to other benefits, which from June 2020 will include the free TV licence for people over 75," she said.

“However, uptake of pension credit remains extremely low. It’s estimated that around 1.3million people in Great Britain are missing out, which would likely mean well over 1000 people in Brecon and Radnorshire.

“The changes to the free TV licence must act as a catalyst to ensure more people get the support they’re entitled to. I hope people will consider their own circumstances, and those of their family and friends, and build awareness of the importance of claiming pension credit.”

The Department for Work and Pensions estimate that around 1.3million families entitled to pension credit did not claim it, with an average of around £2,500 unclaimed per year for each family.

A total of 26.6% of people in Brecon and Radnorshire are 65 and over, against a Wales-wide average of 19.9%, with around 5000 people in Brecon and Radnorshire set to lose out from the new system for TV licences.

Last week, the BBC confirmed it was set to scrap free TV licences for nearly 4 million people aged over 75, following a decision to transfer the responsibility for bearing the cost of licences for older people from the Government to the BBC in 2015.

In return for the broadcaster taking on that cost, the government agreed the survival of the licence fee funding mechanism until 2020, and allowed the fee to rise in line with inflation.

"The changes around the free TV licence will be another blow to some households who have already been forced into claiming universal credit instead of pension credit. This change was already leaving many couples hundreds of pounds a month worse off, and now some will have to find the cash for a TV licence when they would have received it for free," added Ms Williams.

“The Conservative Government seems determined to make life as difficult as possible for our pensioners. A failure to support older people will have serious consequences here in Brecon and Radnorshire.”