MILLIONS of retired Britons could miss pension credits worth an average of £ 3,000 a year, new government figures show.
The pension credit is a means-tested benefit that helps low-income people by giving them extra money throughout retirement.
It is available for people living in England, Scotland or Wales who have passed the statutory retirement age, which is currently set at 65 for both men and women, although this is expected to rise to 66 in October of this year.
It is estimated that 1.3 million retirees are not benefiting from the pension increase because they mistakenly believe they do not qualify.
You can apply for the credits even if you have savings, own your own home, may be working, or even if you have been denied in the past.
The government has launched a 12-week campaign to raise awareness and encourage more people to claim social assistance.
How to apply for a pension credit
THE retirement credit application line can be reached on 0800 99 1234. It is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 7:30 pm.
You will need certain information before placing the call, including:
- Your national insurance number
- Information on your income, savings and investments
- Details of the account you want the money to go to
The earliest possible date to apply is four months before reaching the statutory retirement age.
If you apply after reaching retirement age, you can backdate your application up to three months.
The amount you will be paid depends on your personal situation.
Fortunately, there is a useful government calculator, which will tell you exactly what you can expect to receive.
You will need to have a lot of financial information on hand, including details about your income, benefits, pensions, savings, and investments.
You will also need the same information for your partner if you have one.
Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at financial services provider Royal London, said: “Only around 60% of people currently eligible for a pension credit are claiming it.
“There are so many misconceptions about who can claim it – these myths must be broken if we are to stimulate the use of this valuable benefit.”
You can only back date claims by three months, so it’s important that you know what steps you can take to make sure you don’t miss them in the future.
The pension credit has two components: the guaranteed pension credit and the savings pension credit.
The guaranteed pension credit supplements your income up to the minimum set by the government – that is £ 167 of income per week, or £ 255 per week for couples.
Meanwhile, the retirement savings credit rewards you for saving money for retirement.
This works out to up to £ 13.73 per week for singles and up to £ 15.35 per week for couples.
But you may get more if you are a caregiver, severely disabled, responsible for a child or youth, or have certain housing costs.
How to request a reduction in the housing tax
If you have a modest income or if you are requesting pension credits, you can ask your town hall for a reduction in the housing tax.
Your bill can be reduced by up to 100%, but the amount you get depends on:
- You get a pension credit
- You benefit from the guaranteed part of the pension credit
- You only benefit from the savings part of the pension credit without the guaranteed part
It also depends on your weekly income and savings.
The boards run their own programs, so you will need to contact your local representative to make a complaint. You can find the contact details on the GOV.UK website.
You can request that the reduction be backdated to the date your allowance was granted, provided it is within one month.
You can only start benefiting from a savings loan if you – and your partner, if you have one – have reached the legal retirement age before April 6, 2016.
Find out what pension credit you may be entitled to using the government calculator – you don’t need to provide any personal details.
Applying for a pension credit can also give access to other benefits, such as housing assistance, housing tax or heating bills.
You can apply for housing benefit at the same time as you apply for a pension credit, so you don’t need to fill in your details twice.
You will need to apply for a reduction in your council tax or cold weather payments separately.
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