MILLIONS of households are being urged to check if they’re missing out on more than £200 a week in extra cash.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has told pensioners to check whether they are eligible and missing out on Pension Credit.
It comes as pensioners across the country are facing rising costs and bills.
In a tweet, the DWP said: “If you are over State Pension age and on a low income, it is easy to check whether you are eligible and missing out on #PensionCredit.”
In January, the DWP warned that millions of eligible pensioners are missing out on pension credit.
And the benefit could soon boost pension pots by up to £201.05 a week.
Pension Credit is paid to those who have reached state pension age and are on a low income.
The benefit is intended to top people up so they can afford everyday living costs.
It will increase by 10.1% from April 10 for those on the benefit.
That means from this date, the benefit will rise from £182.60 a week to £201.05. For couples it will go from £278.70 to £306.85.
You can get extra amounts to top up the benefit depending on your circumstances.
The “Savings Credit” part of Pension Credit is going up from April, from £14.48 a week to £15.94.
For couples, it is going up from £16.20 to £17.84.
Even a small award can unlock further support – such as help with housing costs, council tax and heating bills.
And for those over 75, this includes a free TV licence.
Also, if you’re claiming Pension Credit you are also eligible for the new £900 cost of living payment coming in the spring.
Who is eligible for pension credit?
It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.
This is currently rising to 66 for both men and women.
It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.
This means if you’re single and move in with a partner who is younger than the state pension age, you will stop being eligible.
But if you’re already receiving pension credit under the old system it won’t stop unless your circumstances change.
To qualify, you’ll need to have a weekly income of less than £182.60 for single people or £278.70 for couples.
Pension credit will rise to £201.05 in April, and for couples, it’ll go to £306.85.
If your income is lower than this, you should be eligible for the benefit.
Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:
- Your state pension
- Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
- Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
- Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
- Earnings from a job
The calculation does not include:
- Attendance allowance
- Christmas bonus
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Housing benefit
- Council tax reduction
If your income is too high to get pension credit, you may still get some savings, so it’s worth checking.
How much can you get in pension credit?
There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £182.60 a week if you’re single and £278.70 a week for married couples.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you’ve saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £14.48 a week for a single person or £16.20 a week for a married couple.
You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.
For instance, you can get either £56.35 a week or £66.85 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for.
If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.
For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £69.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £38.85 a week.
How do I apply?
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.
Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you’ll need to be with them when they do.
You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:
- National Insurance number
- Information about any income, savings and investments you have
- Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually three months ago or the date you reached state pension age)
If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.
How will I be paid?
Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.
They’re usually paid every four weeks.
You’ll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.
But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]