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32nd Retired Members' National Conference

Usdaw welcomed delegates to its head office in May for the 32nd Retired Members’ Conference. Organised by the union’s pensions section and chaired by Usdaw president Jane Jones, the agenda covered auto-enrolment, the services offered by Age UK and advanced care planning.

Auto enrolment

Usdaw pensions officer Debra Blow explored how auto enrolment has fared since its introduction 10 years ago and shared her thoughts on whether this would solve pension issues for future generations.

“Over 10 million people have been auto enrolled, the number of women contributing has increased by 50 per cent and an additional £33 billion has been saved into pension pots since 2012,” said Debra. “However, there are still a number of issues that need to be tackled such as the millions who are excluded from auto enrolment, people not saving enough and the pensions gender gap. Usdaw will continue trying to influence government, keeping the issue of pensions on the ADM agenda, giving feedback to the TUC and pension organisations, and raising awareness through our reps.”

If you would like to understand more about auto enrolment, Usdaw has produced a guide to answer all of your questions. See here.

Cost of Living

Age UK marketing and communication manager Jane Bevan outlined the range of services offered by the charity and focused on the ones that could help with the cost of living.

“The cost of living is a concern for many older people,” said Jane. “But there are things you can do such as making sure you carry out a benefits review to find out if you’re entitled to any additional help. The review can also include asking about Pension Credit which tops up your weekly income and opens the door to other benefits such as TV license concessions. An Attendance Allowance is available for those over state pension age who need help with personal care or supervision because of an illness or disabilities. With soaring energy prices, it’s worth checking whether you’re entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment.”

If you’re interested in carrying out a benefits review you will need to visit Age UK’s website via  https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/benefits-calculator/

The review can be used as an important tool to help boost your income and we would encourage everyone to take a look.

Advanced Care Planning

Age UK project facilitator Amanda Barrell addressed delegates on the importance of advanced care planning, the growing issue of funeral poverty and how to cope with bereavement.

“We are all entitled to good end of life care and a dignified death,” said Amanda. “Advance care planning offers us the opportunity to plan our own future care and support, including medical treatment, while we still have the capacity to do so. It gives us the opportunity to share our wishes with our loved ones. Not everyone will want to make an advanced care plan, but it may be especially relevant for people at risk of losing their mental capacity through an illness.”

See below a group picture taken from the day of the conference.

The pensions team would like to say a big thank you to those delegates who were able to attend the conference.

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