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Pensions: Are you claiming your pension credit?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently released a statement to urge people to claim the Pension Credit that they are entitled to. It is thought that around 1.4 million low income families are missing out on a top-up for their state pension and as a result, the DWP is urging the public to talk to friends and family to ensure people are claiming this benefit.
In 2015-16, nearly 2 million people claimed over £6bn in Pension Credit however £3.3bn went unclaimed as take up of the benefit has remained static for six years. Those entitled to the benefit but who are not claiming it are missing out on an average of £2000 a year, according to official figures.
The Pension Credit is a non-taxable benefit based on a person’s current income with the purpose of topping up a pensioner’s weekly income to £159.35 for a single person or £243.25 for couples. There are two parts to pension credit – guarantee credit which is the weekly top-up mentioned above and savings credit which is money that is provided to those with savings or income higher than the basic state pension.
However, for those that have an income higher than the limit but with caring responsibilities, severe disabilities or certain housing costs, they may be eligible to claim Guarantee Credit to help with these costs.
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman, commented on the current figures; “Through a simple check, you could have access to additional money that could make all the difference in day-to-day life. Even though we have reduced pensioner poverty close to historically low levels, many older people are still not claiming the support they are entitled to.”
What are the criteria to be eligible?
There are a couple of criteria you must fulfil in order to be eligible for Pension Credit, these are:
- Already have reached state pension age and be claiming your pension. If you are a couple then you both need to have reached state pension age.
- There is not a savings limit in place currently for Pension Credit however if you have over £10,000 this is likely to affect how much you receive.
How do I know if I am eligible for Pension Credit?
To find out if you are eligible for Pension Credit, or when you will become eligible, visit at GOV.UK to use their state pension calculator and find out more about Pension Credit.
What are the benefits of Pension Credit for me?
The Pension Credit not only provides you with additional cash which can be a huge help but it may also help your eligibility for other benefits too, including:
- Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital.
- The possibility of getting your rent paid for you in full through Housing Benefit
- Potentially becoming available for help with mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges
- It becoming unlikely that you will have to pay Council Tax, unless other people live with you.
- Cold Weather Payments of £25 when the temperature is zero degrees or below for seven days in a row.
- For carers, you may be eligible for an extra amount known as Carer Premium, or Carer Addition when it is paid with Pension Credit. This is worth around £34.95 per week.
To apply for Pension Credit, you can call the claim line on 0800 99 1234.
For more information regarding this subject, check out Age UK’s article and always get advice for a pension’s adviser for questions and queries.