1.3 million people aren’t claiming the pension credit they’re entitled to, says Independent Age.
This figure is based on the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) estimates that two in five eligible people aren’t claiming.
Pension credit is a means-tested benefit (ie eligibility depends on your earnings) that tops up your basic state pension if you have a low income.
Reasons for not claiming range from a lack of awareness of the benefit and eligibility, to the stigma of receiving a benefit. But as Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, says: ‘There are many reasons why people don’t seek financial help during retirement, but it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.
‘With pensioner poverty currently affecting more than a million older people, claiming pension credit can help to alleviate financial strains by boosting weekly income.’
Pension credit – Which? Later Life Care lifts the lid on everything you need to know, from eligibility to how to claim.
Pension credit: a tale of two parts
There are two elements of pension credit — guarantee credit and savings credit.
- Guarantee credit: tops up your weekly income to £167.25 for single people and £255.25 for couples.
- Savings credit: up to £13.72 a week for a single person and £15.35 for couples.
Part of the pension credit eligibility criteria is that you or your partner must have reached pension credit qualifying age.
However, the rules are changing on 15 May 2019. From this point, you’ll only be eligible to start getting pension credit if you and your partner have both reached pension credit qualifying age, or if one of you has reached pension credit qualifying age and is claiming housing benefit for you as a couple.
If you need to find out when you’ll reach pensionable age, use Which? Money’s state pension age calculator.
What other benefits am I entitled to?
There are lots of benefits specifically for older people — and it’s worth getting clued up on them so you don’t miss out on cash or freebies.
- Attendance allowance: available to those over pension age who would benefit from help with washing, dressing or eating, due to illness or disability. It’s worth up to £87.65 a week and it isn’t means-tested.
- Council tax reduction: if you, or someone you live with, has dementia (or another permanent severe mental impairment), you may be eligible for a 25% council tax discount.
- Free prescriptions and eye tests: for those aged 60 or over.
- Free TV licence: if you’re aged 75 or over, or someone you live with is, you’re entitled to a free TV licence.
- Winter fuel payment: a tax-free annual payment of between £100 and £300 to help with heating costs, but there are eligibility criteria.
For more information on which benefits you may be entitled to, head straight to our article on benefits for older people on Which? Later Life Care.
How else can I save money?
From knowing where to find discounts on restaurants and becoming a savvy supermarket shopper to switching your energy supplier, there are plenty of smart things you can do to cut costs.
If you’re interested in saving money (and who wouldn’t be?), take a look at the round-up of 50 ways to save money. Your bank account will be pleased you did.