* many are being hit by the combination of rising fuel bills and plummeting savings and would have had to choose between either heating or eating over Christmas.
* receiving a surprise bill of just £200 would be enough to push more than a million and a quarter into debt.
Director General, Michelle Mitchell, said: "Many older people are living hand-to-mouth and dreading the day when the cooker breaks down or energy prices rise again."
The basic state pension for old men and women is only £107.45 a week and, although extra financial support is available, with many eligible for a £33 a week top-up and potential help with council tax bills,.around £5.5billion a year, however, goes unclaimed.
Sally West said : "It is an enormous amount to go unclaimed. For many it is simply that they are not aware they are eligible but some are put off by the process of claiming."
Britain today - a sad, uncharitable place for poor, old men.