Newcastle University is to study whether helping pensioners in poverty to claim their rightful benefits is good for their health.
A small-scale survey has already been performed in the North East, in which 68 out of 126 people who took part received more welfare as a result of advice, £55 being the average increase weekly.
The leader of the new survey, Professor Martin White, said it will be carried out on a larger scale and examine whether extra money actually leads to health benefits.
Participants will be recruited through doctors’ surgeries and letters will be sent out to those eligible within a few weeks.
Many older participants in the earlier study found it hard to make ends meet and many lived in poor health or had to care for a chronically sick relative, said the professor of public health at Newcastle University.
Roughly two million UK pensioners are officially in poverty but a great number of them could emerge from this position if they claimed everything to which they are entitled.