Pension Credit warning: One million pensioners miss out on claiming £1,700 boost per year

Pension credit: Rees-Mogg urges Brits to check eligibility

Pension Credit is a payment offered to people who have reached state pension age, and can potentially sit alongside their normal state pension entitlement. The payment is particularly useful for those who need additional financial support in their later years of life. Rolled out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) it is likely millions are eligible to be in receipt of the payment.

However, it is perhaps the payment with the worst take up of all in terms of those offered by the government.

Figures from the DWP have revealed a wide-scale problem with claiming Pension Credit.

Estimated take-up levels from the 2018/19 tax year showed up to one million eligible families are not claiming the sum to which they are entitled.

This could cost £1,700 a year, and amount to a staggering £1.8billion of unclaimed money.

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Last year, Independent Age, the older people’s charity, called upon those of state pension age to investigate if they are eligible.

The organisation stated there were a number of reasons as to why people have not taken up the sum.

These include lack of awareness of Pension Credit itself, lack of awareness of entitlement, and the stigma associated with receiving a benefit.

But Pension Credit can be particularly useful for many older people, as aside from the financial support it offers, it can unlock other entitlements.

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These include NHS dental treatments, free sight tests, and Cold Weather Payments each winter.

Recently, the BBC also took the decision to scrap the free TV Licence for over 75s, except for those who are in receipt of Pension Credit.

Therefore a claim is likely to be the only way left for pensioners to be able to watch live television without cost.

But for those who think they may be entitled Pension Credit, it is important to check eligibility.

The government has stated people must be resident in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached state pension age in order to qualify.

People who are in a couple can start receiving Pension Credit if either:

  • they and their partner have both reached state pension age
  • one person in the couple is receiving Housing Benefit for those who are over state pension age

The government classifies a “partner” as a husband, wife or civil partner who someone lives with, or a person someone lives with as if they were married.

Pension Credit is, overall, an income-related benefit, but is split into two separate parts.

These components are Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, differing in what they offer to eligible pensioners.

Guarantee Credit is designed to top up a person’s weekly income if it is below £265.20 for couples, or £173.75 for single people.

Savings Credit, however, is available to those who saved money towards their retirement, for example, in the form of a pension.

However, it is worth noting individuals may not be eligible to receive Savings Credit if they reached state pension age on or after April 6, 2016.

For single people, Savings Credit can be up to £13.97 per week, and up to £15.62 weekly for couples.

But a benefit of the payment is that it is tax-free, meaning pensioners will not have to worry about their sum being reduced. 

Those who wish to work out what they might receive under Pension Credit are encouraged to use the dedicated calculator on the government website to do so. 

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