ELDERLY people are missing out on vital money that could help them out of the poverty trap because many are too embarrassed to make welfare claims, a charity has warned.

Justin Glass, who works as a welfare rights officer for Glasgow Old People's Welfare Association (GOPWA) said the "biggest barrier" to his job was a reluctance from pensioners to accept social security help.

Mr Glass takes calls from the GOPWA's base and also carries out daily home visits to OAPs as part of the charity's ethos to help the elderly "heat, meet and eat."

The charity has two welfare Officers who help older adults to apply for benefits and other entitlements including PIP, attendance allowance and blue badges.

In 2015 the officers collectively visited mnore than 300 older adults and helped to increase their income by over £1million.A successful application raises an older adult’s income by an average of £4,000.

Research has shown that benefits worth more than £13billion go unclaimed every year, including around £3billion in pension credits.

He said: "A very big part of my work is maximisation of income, where we tell elderly people what benefits they are entitled to.

"We fill in all the forms for them. You are a fixer so to speak.

"The biggest barrier for me doing this job with the older generation is the uptake in benefits they are entitled to

"They don't want to be seen to be on welfare. They have come through two world wars of they have never had to go on welfare.

"It can be a stigma for them, whereas for my generation it's not.

"It's the same type of inquiries we get all the time.

"It might be that they have a small pension they didn't realise they have."

Mr Glass said the charity was also taking an increasing number of calls from families affected by dementia, which is predicted to affect one in three of population in the next few decades.

He said: "We've just been on a course to learn about dementia. Everyone in Scotland is to have a dementia champion now, an advisor, once you have a diagnosis.

"It's all about getting the right services in, maximising their income.

"There are all sorts of things, such as council tax exemption if you have a cognitive impairment.

"Making sure if they need home helps, aids and adaptations in the house. It's all about keeping people in their homes more.

"We get the same type of inquiries all the time but people are living longer and are a lot healthier, I'm glad to say. It's not just a clear cut thing that you are able to go out and get them that disability allowance."

To make an appointment with the income maximisation service call 0141 221 9924.