The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced a ‘day of action’ next month which will aim to encourage people of state pension age to check their eligibility for a higher value benefit to £3,000 each year in financial support and further reductions.
The DWP’s ‘Pension Credit Day of Action’ will take place on Wednesday June 15 and aims to inspire more older people to seek help to help them manage the rising cost of living.
The latest figures released by the UK government show that up to 850,000 families who qualified for pension credit did not claim the benefit in the 2019 to 2020 financial year.
The DWP launched a new awareness campaign in April and said up to £1.7billion of available pension credit had gone unclaimed – on average this equated to around £1,900 a year for each family entitled to the “bridging” benefit.
The pension credit gives people extra money to help cover living expenses if they are over retirement age and have a low income.
Some older people think that because they have savings or own their homes they wouldn’t qualify for a pension credit, but the DWP said more than 400,000 people could miss out on the extra money and the discounts it offers each month.
More than 1.4 million people over state pension age across the UK currently receive the benefit, including some 131,600 living in Scotland, and access additional financial support with the tax. accommodation, housing allowances, hearing bills and a free TV license for those over 75.
Other help if you have a pension credit
If you get a pension credit, you can also get other help, such as:
- Housing allowance if you rent the property in which you live
- Mortgage interest coverage if you own the property you live in
- A reduction in the housing tax
- A free TV license if you are 75 or older
- Help with NHS dental care, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- Help with your heating costs with the Warm Home rebate program
- A discount on the Royal Mail redirect service if you move house
One of the quickest ways to find out if you’re eligible and how much extra you could potentially receive each week is to use the Pension Credit Calculator on the GOV.UK website.
Mixed elderly couples and Pension Credit
In May 2019, the law changed so that a “mixed-age couple” — a couple where one partner is of state retirement age and the other is below — is considered a “working-age” couple when verifying means-tested eligibility. advantages.
This means that they cannot claim pension credit or housing benefit at retirement age until they both reach retirement age.
Prior to this change to the DWP, a mixed-age couple could claim the more generous state retirement age benefits when only one of them reached state retirement age.
How to use the pension credit calculator
To use the calculator, you will need details of:
You will need the same details for your partner if you have one.
Who cannot use the pension credit calculator?
You cannot use the calculator if you or your partner:
defer your state pension
own more than one property
have housing costs (such as service charges or Crown tenant rent) that are neither mortgage payments nor rent covered by Housing Benefit
How to make a claim
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state retirement age.
You can apply anytime after reaching state retirement age, but your application can only be backdated by three months.
This means you can get up to three months of pension credit on your first payment if you qualified during that time.
You will need:
your national insurance number
information about your income, savings and investments
your bank details, if you are applying by phone or by post
If you are backdating your application, you will need details of your income, savings and investments as of the date you want your application to start.
You can use the online service if:
To check your entitlements, call the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the GOV.UK Pension Credit Calculator here to find out how much you could get.
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