1.2million families missing out on £2,000 pension credit per year – how to claim – The Sun

MILLIONS of families are missing out on pension credit worth £2,000 a year, new figures reveal.

Up to 1.2million pensioners failed to claim the benefit during 2017 and 2018, according to a report by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), leaving around £2.5billion unclaimed.

Pension credit is a means-tested benefit that helps those on lower incomes by giving them extra money throughout retirement.

It's available for people who live in England, Scotland or Wales, who are over the state pension age, which is currently set at 65 for both men and women, although this is set to rise to 66 in October this year.

But the new data shows that just one in four of those who are entitled to it actually claim it.

The take up rate for couples is just 55 per cent, lower than they are for single women (62 per cent) or for single men (67 per cent).

What is pension credit? 

THERE are two elements to pension credit – the guarantee pension credit and the savings pension credit.

Guarantee pension credit tops up your income to the minimum set by the government – that's £167 worth of income a week, or £255 a week for couples.

Meanwhile, savings pension credit rewards you for putting cash aside for retirement.

This amounts to up to £13.73 a week for single people, and up to £15.35 per week for couples.

But you might get more if you’re a carer, severely disabled, responsible for a child or young person, or have certain housing costs.

You can only start getting savings credit if you – and your partner, if you have one – reached state pension age before April 6, 2016.

Just Group pensions expert, Stephen Lowe, said: "The human story to this is the hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to make ends meet who may not realise financial help is available or do not know how to navigate the system."

The financial services firm hopes that the decision to end free TV licences for those over 75 may encourage more people to claim.

This is because those who are receiving pension credit will still be able to get the service for free.

Stephen added: "Ultimately the onus is on people to claim for themselves.

How to apply for pension credit 

THE pension credit claim line can be reached on 0800 99 1234. It's open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7:30pm.

You'll need some information to hand before you make the call, including:

  • Your national insurance number
  • Information about your income, savings and investments
  • The details for the account you want the money to be paid into

The earliest possible date to apply is four months before you reach your state pension age.

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

How much you'll be paid depends on your individual circumstances.

Fortunately, there is a helpful government calculator, which will tell you exactly what you can expect to receive.

You'll need to have a lot of financial information to hand including details of your earnings, benefits, pensions, savings and investments.

You'll also need the same information for your partner if you have one.

"Checking or yourself or for an elderly relative or friend is not onerous."

You can see whether you're entitled to the top-up by using a free online benefit calculator, such as Turn2Us, Policy in Practice and entitledto.

You don't need to provide any personal details to get an idea of what help is available to you.

Claiming pension credit can also provide access to other benefits, such as help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills.

You can apply for housing benefit at the same time as you apply for pension credit so there's no need to fill out your details twice.

You will need to apply for a reduction to your council tax or cold weather payments separately.

MoneySavingExpert.com founder, Martin Lewis, explains how to get a free TV licence when you claim pension credit.

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