New Claims for Pension Credit Made Within Next Two Weeks Could be Due £301: Here’s Why You Should Check Eligibility Now
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the job market and hit people’s finances, many older people in the UK are struggling to make ends meet. However, the UK Government’s cost of living support package for 2023/24 could offer some much-needed relief to eligible pensioners.
Independent Age, the national older person’s charity, warns that time is running out to receive a £301 payment from the package. But what is the package, and who is eligible for it?
The £900 cost of living payment was announced last year, and will be made in three instalments to households on many means-tested benefits, including Pension Credit. Pension Credit is a form of financial support for people over the State Pension age who fall below a minimum income threshold. It can be worth over £3,500 per year on average, or the equivalent to £60 a week. The most recent figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggest that an estimated 850,000 eligible pensioners could be missing out on the additional financial support.
However, the DWP recently confirmed that if eligible older people apply for Pension Credit before Friday May 19, they will be able to backdate it by the maximum of three months, meaning they can then qualify for the £301 payment. It’s important to keep in mind that only successful applicants will receive the cost of living payment along with Pension Credit arrears.
Why Should You Check if You’re Eligible for Pension Credit?
Even if a person only receives a small amount through Pension Credit, it can unlock additional benefits such as the Warm Home Discount, a free TV licence (for people aged over 75), Council Tax Reduction, help to pay rent, and free NHS dental treatment. Independent Age’s research shows that these extra benefits alone can be worth up to £8,000 a year.
John Palmer, Director of Policy and Communications at Independent Age, urges all older people who are financially struggling to check if they could receive Pension Credit. The support you could be entitled to is sitting in a pot, with up to £1.7 billion a year not being received by those who should be getting it. During this turbulent period of high costs, it’s essential to make sure you’re receiving all the support you’re entitled to.
How to Check if You’re Eligible for Pension Credit and What Other Benefits You Can Get
If you are over 65 and reached State Pension age before April 6, 2016, you could still qualify for Pension Credit if your weekly income is less than £218.80 if you are single, or £319.20 if you are a couple. You can check your eligibility for Pension Credit using the online calculator or by calling the Pension Credit helpline.
In addition to extra financial support through Pension Credit, if you qualify, you can also get help with housing benefit if you rent the property you live in, support for mortgage interest if you own the property you live in, a council tax discount, a free TV licence if you are aged 75 or over, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, and a discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you are moving house.
In May 2019, the law changed so that a ‘mixed age couple’ – a couple where one partner is of State Pension age and the other is under it – are considered to be a ‘working age’ couple when checking entitlement to means-tested benefits. This means they cannot claim Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit until they are both State Pension age. Before this DWP change, a mixed age couple could be eligible to claim the more generous State Pension age benefits when just one of them reached State Pension age.
If you’re a pensioner struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to check your eligibility for Pension Credit before Friday May 19. Successful applicants will receive the £301 payment as part of the UK Government’s cost of living support package, along with Pension Credit arrears. Even if you only receive a small amount through Pension Credit, it can unlock a range of additional benefits that could be worth up to £8,000 per year.
In conclusion, receiving Pension Credit is essential for many older people in the UK, who are struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times. Make sure to check your eligibility and apply before the deadline to receive additional financial support that could make all the difference in your day-to-day life.