Written by: Emma Lunn
Up to 850,000 people eligible for Pension Credit in 2020 did not apply for the benefit, missing an average of £1,900 a year.
The figures come from the latest earnings-related benefit figures from the DWP, which found that a third of those eligible for pension credit did not.
Figures estimate that £1.7bn of pension credit remains unclaimed, or around £1,900 a year for each household.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit which tops up a pensioner’s weekly income if it is less than £177.10 for a single person or £270.30 for a couple. Pension Credit gives you extra money to help cover your living expenses if you are over retirement age and have a low income.
You may be entitled to more if you are already receiving care allowance or attendance allowance.
Pension credit claimants can also get help with council tax, NHS prescriptions and eyeglasses, as well as the possibility of a free TV license.
There are also up to 260,000 pensioners who could apply for housing benefit but do not. According to the figures, around £1.1billion remains unclaimed, which could increase household finances by up to £4,000 a year.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: “Use of pension credit continues to rise, but up to 850,000 pensioner households are still missing out on this vital benefit. Pension Credit boosts the income of the poorest pensioners and acts as a valuable gateway to other benefits such as help with heating bills and NHS treatment.
“If you are over 75, you are also entitled to a free TV license. It is estimated that each eligible household loses up to £1,900 a year by not claiming.
“The data also shows that around a quarter of a million pensioners could miss out on housing benefit, which could potentially boost their incomes by £4,000 a year. These are huge sums of money that could really boost people’s income in retirement, and it is vitally important that those who think they are entitled to help check whether they qualify.
Many people think they don’t qualify for the pension credit because they own their own home or have savings – but that’s not the case.