Plea to pensioners: check that you are getting the Pension Credit to which you are entitled
The UK has never paid our pensioners more.
Our annual state pension bill is £100 billion, up from £60 billion in 2010.
Around 1.5 million pensioners across the United Kingdom do receive the extra help from Pension Credit– a top up to their retirement incomes, which crucially offers a springboard to a variety of other bits of financial support, like a free TV licence, housing support, and more.
But here is the problem. There are still hundreds of thousands of pensioners who might be eligible for Pension Credit but simply are not claiming. They are missing out on this extra boost, which last year was worth, on average, around £64 a week.
That’s why the Department for Work and Pensions has teamed up with Age UK and the BBC to redouble our efforts to raise awareness of Pension Credit, helping people understand how to apply, what they are eligible for, and what other benefits they can expect – such as a free TV licence for those over 75.
I’m particularly thrilled to be working alongside Len Goodman and Rustie Lee to encourage people to apply for Pension Credit and using their profile to reach those who may in the past have been reticent about claiming it.
Pensioners whose income is below £177.10 (for individuals) or £270.30 (for couples) per week may be eligible to receive Pension Credit. And if your income is higher, you might still be eligible for Pension Credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, or you have particular housing costs.
Anyone can use the Department for Work and Pension’s free online Pension Credit calculator to check eligibility and get an estimate of what they might receive.
If you aren’t sure about eligibility, then I urge you to make a claim – this can be easily done online at NI direct website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-pension-credit-online.
Or you can call the NI Pension Credit Freephone claim line on 0808 100 6165, or apply by post. Organisations such as Age UK (Age NI) or your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you to claim.
So, please, if you have a relative or are caring for someone help them make a claim. Even a small amount of Pension Credit can open the door to a wealth of other support including a free TV licence, help with council tax, housing benefit, NHS dental treatment and the Warm Home Discount. This is worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
And we don’t want your mum or dad to miss out.
We don’t want your mum or dad to miss out. I want everyone to get the support they are entitled to – and the application process couldn’t be more straightforward.
• Guy Opperman is UK minister for Pensions
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