Age Scotland is calling on pensioners living on a low state pension to act quickly to check their eligibility for pension credit and apply before next week’s deadline, to avoid losing out on £650 in extra financial support which could help increase energy bills.
Low-income pensioners have until next Thursday August 18 to apply for a pension credit with the Department for Work and Pensions if they want to benefit from the additional payment from the UK government to help meet the rising cost of life.
You may be eligible for Guaranteed Pension Credit if your weekly income is less than £182.60 if you are single or £278.70 for couples.
The Scottish national charity for the elderly is urging anyone receiving a state pension facing financial hardship due to higher energy bills and the cost of living who is not already in receipt of a credit pension to ensure that she submits an application before the deadline.
The £650 payment, announced by the UK government in May, will be paid to those who receive pension credit in two lump sums of £326 and £324. The first was to be paid last month and the second in the fall. Successful new applicants will receive the full £650.
To receive the additional payment, seniors must have been eligible to claim a pension credit between April and May of this year. However, anyone starting a successful pension credit claim before August 18 will still be entitled to both the benefit and the additional payment, as the claim can be backdated by three months.
Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said:
“With growing numbers of older people in Scotland struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, it is vital that those on the lowest incomes receive all they are entitled to.
“Each year in Scotland, hundreds of millions of pounds of social security payments go unclaimed by older people due to a lack of awareness, difficulties in accessing them, stigma around benefits or simply the not knowing where to turn for help.
“The pension credit is not only a key benefit, but it opens the door to a lot more additional support, including help with winter energy bills, a free TV license for over 75s, help with reducing rent and housing tax, free dental care and reducing water bills.
“We want every older person to get every penny of help they can, but worryingly we know that around 123,000 eligible low-income pensioners in Scotland are not claiming pension credit.
“Now, just over a week away from the deadline for obtaining the additional cost of living payment, we urge all low-income retirees to act quickly and begin the application process. We don’t want to see no one missing out on an extra £650 at such a difficult time for the elderly.
“Call our free helpline on 0800 12 44 222. One of our advisers can carry out a full benefit check and help you start the application process. You can also check if you are eligible via our website’s free benefits calculator at www.age.scot/benefitscalculator.
“Time is running out but if you act now, we can help you.”
Helen Morrison of Glasgow, in her seventies, receives a pension credit and encourages people on low state pensions to check their eligibility and apply.
“It really makes a difference and while it supplements my low state pension, it also means I’m entitled to help with my rent, council tax and energy costs. At a time like this Here, where almost all of our bills are rising so rapidly, it’s really important that seniors see what they might be owed and claim it.
“Too many people are missing out so please don’t just sit there struggling. Get information by phoning organizations like Age Scotland to see what you might be entitled to. I know it can be hard to take this step but there’s no shame in claiming it because you’ve earned it Don’t be cold or hungry because it’s yours and it really helps.