Some of the poorest pensioners are missing out because they don’t claim the Pension Credit that would supply a vital income boost. New analysis by charity Turn2us shows one million pensioner households eligible for the benefit – designed to help people on a low income who have reached state pension age – are failing to claim it.
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It’s suggested that many simply aren’t aware of the payment, while others don’t know about how to claim it.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit which is made of up two parts, and these are Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit.
Some may be able to get one or both parts, depending on their circumstances.
Guarantee Pension Credit tops up incomes for those of state pension age who are on an income below £167.25 per week (single person) or £255.25 (couples).
State pension age: Some people may be eligible to claim Pension Credit (Image: GETTY)
State pension age: Pension Credit can unlock a number of discounts (Image: GETTY)
Savings Pension Credit is an extra payment to reward people aged 65 and over, who have prepared for their retirement and have some savings or income.
You must have reached the state pension age before April 6, 2016.
Today, the Daily Express brings readers “Your Essential Guide to Pensions” – an eight-page pull-out guide on pensions.
In the guide, pensions expert Tricia Phillips explains that the problem is that Pension Credit is not paid automatically, but instead it has to be claimed.
And, it seems that some people may be making a common mistake when they assume that they are not eligible for the payment.
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Many people think that because they are say, a homeowner, they will not be eligible.
But once a person claims Pension Credit, it unlocks a raft of other financial help from Housing Benefit to the Warm Home Discount which knocks £140 off winter fuel bills.
David Samson, welfare benefits specialist at Turn2us, said: “Pension Credit is not a luxury. It makes a difference.
“We work every day with people who are struggling financially and know older people are often the least well equipped to get the right support.”
Research from retirement specialists Just Group revealed pensioners failing to claim benefits were down an average £1,139 per year.
State pension age: Some of the poorest pensioners could be missing out on extra help (Image: GETTY)
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During The Martin Lewis Money Show on Monday night, Martin Lewis explained how claiming Pension Credit could mean people unlock other discounts which could be worth thousands of pounds.
He told viewers: “It unlocks potential eligibility to a whole range of other things,” he said.
You know about the free TV Licence from June [for over 75s who get Pension Credit], but there’s also: some councils will give you a Council Tax reduction of up to 100 percent if you’re on Pension Credit.
“There’s the Warm Home Discount from big energy companies worth £140 per year if you’re on the guarantee element of Pension Credit.”
As well as pointing out that it could mean a person is able to get the Cold Weather Payment during periods of very cold weather, he added: “Some councils will also give you Housing Benefit if you’re on Pension Credit. Ask your water company if you can get a discount of up to 50 percent.
State pension age: Retirement Living Standards were published by the PLSA (Image: PLSA)
“EON, npower have home insulation and boiler cover grants for those on the guaranteed element of Pension Credit even if you’re not their customers.
“Ask your optician, can you get a voucher towards your glasses and contact lenses, ask your dentist if you’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment.”
Pension Credit: How to claim
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says the quickest and easiest way to apply for Pension Credit is by telephone by calling the government’s Pension Credit claim line.
A friend or family member can call on a person’s behalf – however the eligible person must be with them when they call.