THOUSANDS on low incomes are still missing out on a "life changing"amount of money.

Recent figures published today have revealed that thousands more Brits are claiming Pension Credit, but more could be eligible for cash.

The benefit is designed to help people over state pension age (currently 66) and struggling to get by on a low income.

The average Pension Credit award is worth over £3,500 a year and  tops up a person's income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners and to £306.85 for couples.

Official Figures released today by the Department for Work and Pensions show that the number of people receiving the benefit "remained broadly flat" between November 2022 and February 2023.

Around 32,000 older people on low income started receiving Pension Credit during the three month period, according to analysis by a national charity.


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Independent Age says there is still not enough eligible retirees receiving the "life changing" cash.

Morgan Vine, head of policy and influencing said:"We remain deeply concerned about the many thousands of people eligible for Pension Credit that continue to miss out.

"This group, often, on desperately low incomes, are not receiving life changing sums of money they are owed – from the £3,000 or more directly through Pension Credit, to the potential for up to £8,000 more in linked support such as Housing Benefit, help with NHS costs, and the cost of living support payments that are linked to Pension Credit."

Government figures suggest that around 850,000 eligible pensioners miss out on the cash boost every year.

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Ms Vine goes on to say that during the time period the figures cover, its helpline was "inundated" with calls.

She said that the the calls were made by "frightened older people" who were forced to make hefty cut backs to save money, including not heating their homes and reducing the food they bought.

Ms Vine added: "This shouldn’t be happening in modern Britain. Many of the people calling us shared they have never sought help before but are now desperate to find out if they are eligible for any support whatsoever.

“Given how important Pension Credit is to people, and that thousands are still missing out, it is essential that the government publish statistics on the uptake rate this autumn so we can understand the full picture."

The DWP is currently writing to thousands of households this summer inviting them to claim.

Even a small award can unlock further support – such as help with housing costs, council tax and heating bills.

And for those over 75, this includes a free TV licence.

Also, if you're claiming Pension Credit you are also eligible for the second instalment of the £900 cost of living payment.

You can claim the benefit online or by calling the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

Before you make a claim it's important to have all your details on hand.

You'll need your National Insurance number, bank account details and information about your income, savings and investments.

Below we explain who is eligible for pension credit, how much you'll get, how to apply and how you'll be paid.

Who is eligible for Pension Credit?

It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.

This is currently rising to 66 for both men and women.

It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.

This means if you're single and move in with a partner who is younger than the State Pension age, you will stop being eligible.

But if you're already receiving Pension Credit under the old system it won't stop unless your circumstances change.

To qualify, you'll need to have a weekly income of less than £201.05 for single people or £306.85 for couples.

Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:

  • Your state pension
  • Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
  • Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
  • Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
  • Earnings from a job

The calculation does not include:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Christmas bonus
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax reduction

If your income is too high to get Pension Credit, you may still get some savings so it's worth checking.

How much can you get in Pension Credit?

There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts – here are the current rates for the tax year:

  • Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £201.05 a week if you're single and £306.85 a week for married couples.
  • Savings credit – provides extra money if you've saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £15.94 a week for a single person or £17.84 a week for a married couple.

You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.

For instance, you can get either £61.88 a week or £72.31 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for.

If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.

For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £76.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £42.75 a week.

How do I apply?

You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.

Applications for Pension Credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the claim line on 0800 99 1234.

You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you'll need to be with them when they do.

You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:

  • 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 3 months ago or the date you reached state pension age)

If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.

How will I be paid?

Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.

They're usually paid every four weeks.

You’ll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.

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But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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