Low-income pensioners are missing out on average £1,900 a year by not claiming pension credit, according to the latest government figures. Some 850,000 families are missing out on a total of £1.7billion in financial support.
Pension Credit is a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions, which provides crucial financial support to low-income pensioners.
Single pensioners could see their weekly income increased to as much as £177.10 per week, while couples could see their joint income increase to £270.30.
This also opens the door to various other benefits, such as:
- Help with heating costs
- Residence tax reduction
- A free TV license for those over 75
- Help with NHS dental care, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- Housing allowance
- Coverage of mortgage interest
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The state pension was previously due to increase by 8.1% from April 2022, but the government has instituted a change to the triple-lock policy to prevent that from happening.
This involved temporarily removing the average earnings growth element of the triple lockdown for the 2022/23 tax year.
The state pension could therefore only increase by the rate of inflation or 2.5%. As the inflation rate was higher, that is the figure used.
Mr Lowe continued: “As the cost of living crisis begins to bite and pensioners are hit hard by soaring energy bills, it is more important than ever that people who may struggle to earning an income be aware of the benefits available to them and how they can claim them.
“There are a range of free resources to help individuals and families use a variety of online resources to check if they suspect elderly relatives are missing a great help. The government website has links to useful third-party calculators, while other sources are Citizens Advice, local councils and charities.
Britons can apply for pension credit online via the government website, as well as by phone or post.
The data also showed 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.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “These are huge sums of money that could really boost people’s income in retirement, and it’s hugely important that those who think they have entitled to assistance check whether they are entitled.
“With the pension credit, a lot of people think they don’t qualify because they own their home or have savings – that’s not the case and these misconceptions prevent thousands of retirees to get much-needed retirement support.”