1.2 million state pensioners barely get by as they have to cut costs by up to £166 a month

An expert said the figures increase the pressure on the Chancellor to confirm the triple lock increase in tomorrow's autumn statement.

A pensioner checks her finances

Over a million pensioners rely on their state pension as their main source of income (Image: GETTY)

Over a million rely on the state pension as their main source of income giving them little financial leeway to meet rising costs.

Retirement specialist Just Group looked at ONS data and found that 1.2 million retired households rely on their state pension or pension-related benefits for three-quarters of their income.

A person with no income beyond their state pension, even if they are on the full amount of £203.85 a week, would face a shortfall of around £166 a month.

This is based on figures from the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), which set out that a single pensioner needs at least £12,800 a year to get by.

Even a person on the full new state pension, for whom their state pension made up only three-quarters of their total income, would only have £13,250 a year, just £450 above the level needed for their basic costs.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: "The PLSA’s minimum income standard is more than £2,000 a year higher than the current state pension and demonstrates the gap that over one million retirees, who are largely dependent on the state pension, need to bridge to achieve a minimum standard of living.

"Filling this income gap presents a difficult task given this group of people are not of working age so going out to work and earning more is unlikely to be an option."

Mr Lowe said the findings increase the pressure on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to commit to the triple lock increase in his autumn statement tomorrow, which would boost payments by 8.5 percent.

A couple check their finances

Over a million pensioners rely on their state pension as their main source of income (Image: Getty)

He said: "The wide-spread financial fragility and state income dependence highlighted in our research places even greater pressure on the Chancellor to confirm the triple lock in Wednesday’s autumn statement.

"Maintaining the triple lock could be a lifeline for the vast number of pensioners whose livelihoods depend on the state pension keeping up with costs of living."

Most of the households who largely rely on their state pension were single pensioners, accounting for 760,000 of the 1.2 million households.

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Of these single households, 580,000 are women while 180,000 are men. There are twice as many women over the age of 90 as there are men, and 72 percent of women aged 85 or over are widowed.

Mr Lowe urged state pensioners to check if they can boost their income by claiming . The benefit provides an average income boost of over £3,000 a year.

He said: "Checking benefit eligibility is an equally important step in ensuring a financially stable retirement, with the latest data on benefit take-up evidencing that just six in 10 people eligible for Pension Credit claimed it, leaving £2.1 billion of unclaimed support in 2022."

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