The Department for Work and Pensions said many pensioner households across the UK may be eligible for a pension credit, but are not claiming the benefit.
The DWP estimates that up to a million retirees lack extra cash.
Pension credit can help supplement retirement income, even if someone is already receiving a pension or other source of regular payments.
Many retirees lose extra money each month because they think having savings or owning their home won’t qualify them for the benefit increase.
In a recent parliamentary hearing, DWP Secretary of State Dr Therese Coffey explained that even if someone requests it and only gets two pence a week from the UK government, it will still open the door to additional benefits and discounts, reports daily registration.
This is because people who receive a pension credit could also get additional financial assistance with municipal tax or housing allowance and if they are over 75 they will also get a free TV license – a savings of £ 159 on annual fees.
Dr Coffey told the Work and Pensions Committee: “About three-quarters of the people we consider eligible for the guaranteed minimum income apply. On the savings side, only about half of the people we believe apply. “
He continued, “I would expect that not in large part to the complexity, but when you do part of the math, you could get pennies back from the savings loan element.”
She continued, “We will continue to highlight the other benefits that could come as a result and, even if you get, frankly, two pence a week from the [UK] Government, which you may be entitled to as well.
“We will continue to advertise it, but we have done a fairly significant amount of advertising over the past year. We cannot force people to ask for it. There are plenty of indicators. “
Additional benefits of applying for pension credit
- Free TV license for over 75s: worth £ 159 per year
- Reduced council tax: potentially worth £ 1,000 to £ 2,000 per year
- Warm Homes 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 insulation and boilers: worth £ 1,000 for some
- Free dental treatment: worth £ 100 per year for some
- Glasses / contact lens voucher: worth £ 39 to £ 215 depending on your prescription
To encourage people over retirement age and their families to apply, the DWP has shared two short videos on YouTube that cover the basics of retirement credit with a link to the dedicated pages on GOV.UK.
They have also launched a Pension Credit Toolkit which includes a quick guide to entitlements, payment details, and a link to the online pension credit calculator.
The objective of the DWP is aimed at health visitors, home helpers, daycare staff, social counselors, general practitioners and office staff, the local pharmacist who prepares their prescriptions, people at the Post Office. where they collect their pension, to local councils or to friends and family to help them check if they might be eligible for the pension credit.
To help people get started, the DWP guidelines state that there are four main questions when determining whether a senior may qualify for the pension credit.
1. How old are they?
2. If they have a partner, how old is their partner?
3. What is their weekly income? Is it less than £ 173.75 if they’re single or £ 265.20 if they’re in a relationship?
4. Do they have any savings? Do they have less than £ 10,000?
The DWP said: “People with more income or savings than this may still qualify for the pension credit, but these questions are a good basic indication of who is likely to qualify.”
The guide adds that if they are over 65 and reached state retirement age before April 6, 2016, they may still be eligible for the retirement credit if their weekly income is less than:
- £ 208.68 – if single
- £ 304.25 – if they are in a relationship
People may have applied for a pension credit in the past and were told at the time that they did not qualify, however, a change in their circumstances could now have a different result.
Use the online pension credit calculator or call the pension credit helpline on 0800 99 1234 to find out how much you could get.
What is the pension credit?
The pension credit is an income-related benefit for people living in the UK over retirement age.
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.
To use the calculator, you will need details on:
- earnings, benefits and pensions
- savings and investments
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:
- postpone your state pension
- own more than one property
- are self-employed
- 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
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:
- you have already claimed your state pension
- there are no children or young people included in your request
To check your rights, call the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the GOV.UK Pension Credit Calculator to find out how much you might get.
Subscribe to our free email newsletters to get the latest Nottinghamshire Live headlines delivered to your inbox.