State pension age? You may be able to get £25 boost – eligibility rules

Therese Coffey outlines the benefits of Pension Credit scheme

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The £25 boost is provided by the Cold Weather Payment, which is available to people who get certain benefits, such as Pension Credit. The payment is one of several income supplements on offer to British pensioners each winter.

Who is eligible?

The Cold Weather Payment is given to certain people who experience extremely cold weather during the winter, in order to help them with the added costs.

People who live in an area where the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days can get it.

Recipients of several benefits may get the Cold Weather Payment, with those who get Pension Credit being one of the main eligible groups.

People who receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Support for Mortgage Interest may also be able to get it.

To make it easier for people to find out whether they qualify for the payment, they can enter the first part of their postcode on the website, and will then be told if they are due any money.

How much can people get?

A plus of the payment is that it can be paid more than once during the winter. Recipients will get £25 for every seven-day period below zero degrees between November 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

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Eligible people should get their payment within 14 days of each period of cold weather.

The Cold Weather Payment is not the same as the Winter Fuel Payment, which provides between £100 and £300 to help Britons with their heating bills.

Receiving the Cold Weather Payment does not impact people’s ability to claim other benefits.

How to claim

The good news for people who are eligible for the Cold Weather Payment is that they will not need to actually apply. Anyone who is entitled to it will be automatically paid.

However, any pensioners who think they should have received the payment but have not had it should contact the Pension Service.

Pensioners who go into hospital should tell the Pension Service, as this could impact their payment.

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is a benefit which provides additional income for people who are of state pension age, which is currently 66 in the UK, and are on a low income.

Single people who receive Pension Credit could see their income topped up to £177.10 per week, whereas those who are married or in a civil partnership could get a boosted weekly income of £270.30 between them.

Obviously, this only applies to people whose income would otherwise be less than those amounts. Income is calculated as the total amount of an applicant’s state pension, other pensions, earnings from employment and self-employment and most social security benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance.

However, the following benefits are not counted as income: Attendance Allowance, Christmas Bonus, Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, social fund payments like Winter Fuel Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Savings and investments worth over £10,000 will also be taken into account.

People who have deferred their state pension will still have the amount they would be receiving included in their income calculation.

As well as the extra money it provides, Pension Credit recipients may be eligible for a whole host of other benefits. These include a free TV licence for people aged 75 or over, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments.

Anyone who wants to claim Pension Credit can do so up to four months before they reach state pension age, and claims can also be backdated by a maximum of three months for people who apply after they reach state pension age.

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