RETIREES who are eligible for pension credit could be missing out on other benefits that go with it too.
Pension credit is given to those on low incomes to help with living costs – and it's not difficult to apply.
Currently, over 1.4 million pensioners in Britain receive Pension Credit.
However, the latest government data reveals an estimated £1.7 billion in Pension Credit is going unclaimed.
It sees cash-tight retirees get help towards their food and energy bills, and it's set to increase.
It'll be rising in line with September's inflation rate of 10.1% next April, so it's important you don't miss out.
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Here's what you need to know.
Am I eligible?
The threshold for pension credit currently stands at £182.60 a week.
So if your income is lower than this, you'll be eligible.
For couples, it's £278.70 a week.
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But keep in mind this will rise to £201.05 for single adults and £306.85 for couples in April.
You'll also need to be over the State Pension age, which is 66, and there are two parts to the benefit.
Pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you've saved money towards retirement.
You could get the "Savings Credit" part of Pension Credit if both of the following apply:
- you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016
- you saved some money for retirement, for example, a personal or workplace pension
Which benefits come with it?
Here's the full list of benefits that come with pension credit:
- Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
- Support if you own the property you live in
- Council Tax Reductions
- A free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
- Help with NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, glasses and free transport costs for hospital appointments
- Help with your heating costs including cold weather payments.
How do I apply?
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.
If you've already passed your state pension age, you can still apply but you can only backdate the claim by three months.
To claim you'll need your:
- National Insurance number
- Information about any income, savings and investments you have
- Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually three months ago or the date you reached State Pension age).
You'll also need your bank details to hand.
You can apply using the online service if you've already claimed your state pension and there are no children in the application.
Otherwise you'll have to use the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or apply by post by printing out and filling in the Pension Credit claim form.
You'll need to post the form to: The Pension Service 8, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AN.
More bill help
Don't worry if you're not eligible for pension credit – there's still more help you can get.
The Warm Home Discount is available to those on the lowest incomes to help with rising costs.
Households in England and Wales don't need to apply to get the cash and they'll automatically qualify if they are receiving certain benefits.
In Scotland, some customers will need to apply for cash.
Energy suppliers will automatically dish out the payment, worth £150 this year, as long as you were receiving certain benefits on or before Sunday, August 21.
Also, local councils are giving out cash to help households struggling with bills and other essential costs.
How much you can get depends on where you live and in many areas.
To qualify you'll usually need to be a recipient of council tax support.
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You can search for yours using the search tool on gov.uk – just enter your postcode.
Local councils also offer welfare assistance schemes all year round that can help you with bills.
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