How can you boost your pension?
Would you turn down some extra money? Many pensioners don’t realise they could qualify for Pension Credit. Currently there are almost one million pensioners across the UK, many of whom have been paying into the system for years and are missing out on payments.
Here our Tenancy Support Officers explain what some residents of pension age are missing out on and how they can benefit.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is a benefit aimed at people who are over State Pension age and on low incomes. It is separate from your State Pension and you could get £69 or more per week to top up your income. You might also get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person. Pension Credit can be backdated for three months, so the quicker you can find out if you qualify, the quicker you’ll benefit. To find out if you qualify you can use the Pension Credit calculator
You will need all your income and savings details.
Why are people missing out?
It’s NOT automatic so you have to claim and lots of older pensioners don’t know they are eligible to apply. Others think that because they have some savings they can’t apply, whereas you can have saving of £10,000 or more and may still qualify. The first £10,000 in savings is disregarded. You may also get Pension Credit even if you have other income.
How can I check if I qualify?
The exact rules of who can get Pension Credit are fairly complicated, generally you may be eligible if you are claiming State Pension (currently age 66 or older).
Guarantee Credit tops up those on low incomes. You may be eligible if you are:
- single with total weekly income under £182 (or £201 from April 2023)
- a couple, both of pension age, with weekly income under £278 (£306 from April 2023)
Income from disability benefits such as DLA, PIP or Attendance Allowance are disregarded as income. Savings Credit can also give a little help to those on low incomes who have managed to build up a little more income for their retirement, such as a workplace pension. You must have reached pension age before April 2016 (aged 71+) to be eligible for Savings Credit.
Find out if you’re eligible
If you are a WWH resident, your local Tenancy Support Officer can give you advice and help guide you through the application process and can complete a benefit check to see if you are eligible to apply.
You can also visit gov.uk/pension-credit or phone the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.
Why is Pension Credit important?
It opens up eligibility for other discounts and support with bills worth about £1,000 per year and the Warm Home Discount worth £140 a year. If you claim Pension Credit you can get other help, such as:
- Housing Benefit to help with your rent payments
- a Council Tax discount
- a free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
- help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, if you get a certain type of Pension Credit
- help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme
- a discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you’re moving house
- be eligible for the Government Cost of Living Payments.
“Thanks to the help I got, I feel like I can manage.”
Following the death of her husband, Mrs Evans* (not real name) was struggling to make ends meet. The couple had always kept on top of their rent and paid all their bills, including their food, heating and rent, out of their small State Pensions. But when her husband died, Mrs Evans lost more than £200 from her weekly income.
She met with her Tenancy Support Officer, who looked at her circumstances and was able to help her with a claim for Attendance Allowance. Mrs Evans needed help during the day due to her health conditions. She was awarded standard rate Attendance Allowance of £61 per week.
This led to her being able to claim Pension Credit. The Guarantee Credit topped up her income to £252 per week, which increased her income to a total of £312 per week. This then opened the way to her being able to get benefits to help with her rent and Council Tax. She was also eligible for Government Cost of Living Payments including the Disability Payment.
She said: “I didn’t know where to turn. My husband had looked after our bills and when he died, I was lost.
“Thanks to the help I got from Wales & West Housing, I feel like I can manage.”