On the last episode of The Money Show Live, from his London home, Martin Lewis told viewers that from August 1, the BBC TV license fee will only be free for anyone over 75 who receives a pension credit.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com estimates that there are over 1.5 million eligible households across the UK who have not claimed extended benefits because they don’t realize they can.
Changes to BBC TV’s license fees mean that from 1 August people over 75 will have to pay the annual fee of £ 157.50 – unless they file a claim now.
Martin told viewers, “If you have low income, as a retiree you will want to check it out.”
He then advised anyone who thought they were eligible to call the Pension Credit helpline on 0800 99 1234.
Martin explained, “If it’s your mom and dad, or your grandparents, or your neighbor, talk to them about that if they have low income.
“Not just because of the TV license, it’s relatively trivial, the pension credit is a cash payment and, most importantly, it’s a gateway to other benefits, including council tax reductions. , hot house reduction, cold weather payments, housing allowance, and discounted glasses or contact lenses. “
Martin encouraged viewers to spread the word before August 1.
Here’s our handy guide on what pension credit is, how much you could get, and how to make a claim.
What is the pension credit?
The pension credit is an income-linked benefit for people over retirement age, which is currently rising from 65 to 66 in 2020 for both men and women.
It gives seniors a weekly income supplement – you can also choose to be paid every fortnight or every four weeks.
It is available for single retirees, including widows and widowers, as well as for couples.
According to the UK government, more than three million households are eligible for the pension credit, but four in 10 do not apply for the allowance – in many cases because they do not realize they are entitled to it.
To check your rights, call the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the Gov.uk Pension Credit Calculator here to find out how much you might get.
To use the calculator, you will need details on:
You will need the same details for your partner if you have one.
Who cannot use the calculator?
You cannot use the calculator if you or your partner:
postpone your state pension
own more than one property
have housing costs (such as a service charge or rent from the Crown tenant) that are not mortgage payments or rent covered by housing allowance
What pension credit can I get?
According to government figures, the average amount of pension credits received by applicants ranges from £ 58 to £ 3,000.
What you get depends on your income and how much you have saved or invested.
If you’re in a relationship (defined as having a partner you live with), it’s your combined income and savings that matters.
The pension credit has two parts:
1. Guarantee credit – the supplement for people with low incomes.
For single retirees whose weekly income (including pension) is less than £ 173.75, the pension credit will add up to £ 173.75.
If you have a partner and your joint weekly income is less than £ 265.20, that will top your combined income up to £ 265.20.
When you apply for a loan guarantee, the government looks at all of your income. This includes both your basic and supplementary state pension, any income from other pensions, income from any employment or social security benefits you have, as well as any savings and investments over £ 10,000.
2. Savings loan – reward for those who have saved for retirement.
The savings credit is worth up to £ 13.97 per week for a single person or £ 15.62 for couples.
To be eligible, you must have a minimum income of £ 150.47 per week if you are single and £ 239.17 per week if you are in a relationship.
For every £ 1 your income exceeds that amount, you get 60p in savings credit – up to a maximum of £ 13.97 / £ 15.62.
If your income is below the savings credit threshold of £ 150.47 / £ 239.17, you will not qualify.
The savings credit is only available for people who have reached retirement age before April 6, 2016.
Couples in which only one partner had reached retirement age before April 6, 2016 can also keep the savings loan if the oldest partner had reached 65 years of age and was entitled to the savings loan before that date and there has always been entitled since.
Who is eligible for the pension credit?
To be eligible for the pension credit, you must:
To apply for a new Savings Credit
Men must be 65 and women 63 (the state’s retirement age at the time) by April 6, 2016.
If you are in a relationship, both partners must have reached retirement age by this date.
You are treated like a couple if you live together – you don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership.
For couples, a partner claims and gives details of the income and savings of both partners.
New rules for couples
As of May 15, 2019, couples can usually only start claiming if both partners have reached state retirement age.
“Mixed-age” couples, where only one partner has reached state retirement age, must now apply for universal credit instead, which is worth much less for many people.
When only one partner has reached state retirement age but claims housing allowance for the couple, the couple can still reapply for retirement credit.
How to make a complaint
You can start your application up to four months before reaching retirement age.
You can apply any time after reaching retirement age, but your application can only be backdated for three months.
This means that you can get up to three months of pension credit on your first payment if you were eligible 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 mail
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:
Learn more about other ways to apply or apply online on the Gov.uk website here.
If you receive a pension credit, you will also be entitled to other benefits
Even if you are only entitled to a small amount of pension credit, it is still worth claiming as it means you may be eligible for other benefits including:
Free TV license for over 75s (from August 1, 2020) – worth £ 157.50 per year
Reduction of the housing tax – potentially worth £ 1,000 to £ 2,000 per year
Warm house discount – worth £ 140 per year
Housing allowance – potentially worth £ 1,000 per year
Cold weather payments – potentially worth £ 25 per week in winter
Free grants for house and boiler insulation – worth £ 1,000 for some
Free dental care – worth £ 100 per year for some
Good for glasses / contact lenses – worth £ 39 to £ 215 depending on your prescription
The Martin Lewis Money Show Live returns to STV for a new series in September.
You can find more consumer related topics on the MoneySavingExpert.com website here.