Pensioners across the country are being urged to check if they are entitled to Pension Credit as soon as possible to ensure they stand the best chance of qualifying for an extra £324 cost of living payment. The deadline to qualify for the payment ends on December 18, and people can check their eligibility using the online Pension Credit calculator.
Pension Credit is designed to help people over state pension age and on a low income with daily living costs, but people do not need to be in receipt of the state pension to receive it.
Currently, it tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £182.60 per week for single pensioners and to £278.70 for couples, and these figures are only due to increase by 10.1 percent from April 2023, as confirmed by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in November’s Autumn Statement. This will raise the rates to £201.05 and £306.85 a week, respectively.
Those in receipt of the credit are also granted access to a wide range of other benefits, including help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills – in addition to the extra cost of living payments.
To find out whether they’ll be able to claim the valuable income boost, those over the state pension age are being urged to check the online Pension Credit calculator.
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The calculator provides an indication of whether a person will be eligible and how much they may be able to get. The person just needs to have details of their earnings, benefits and pension, as well as savings and investments, and they’ll need the same information from their partner too if they have one.
However, there are a few requirements that mean people might not be able to use the calculator.
These include if they or their partner are deferring their state pension; own more than one property; are self-employed; have housing costs (such as service charges or Crown Tenant rent) which are neither mortgage repayments nor rent covered by Housing Benefit; or those getting Housing Benefit for people over state pension age, while the other person is under state pension age.
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Those who fit any of the categories listed are advised to call the Pension Credit claim line instead on 0800 99 1234 to check their eligibility. Those deferring the state pension are advised to call the Pension Service helpline and ask about Pension Credit on 0800 731 0469.
Checking eligibility and applying by December 18 – which is just ten days away – will mean pensioners could receive the cost of living payment boost of £324, thanks to Pension Credit backdating rules.
This is because successful Pension Credit claims can be backdated for up to three months – as long as the applicant was also eligible to receive it during that time.
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One of those who recently claimed is Arthur from Lincolnshire. After learning about Pension Credit from his neighbour, Arthur successfully applied by calling the Pension Credit claim line.
He said: “Highly delighted with the Pension Credit award we received – the money was quicker arriving than expected and all in all very pleased with the result. I’d really encourage other pensioners to check if they’re eligible – it’s made a real difference to me.”
Pension Credit can be claimed by phone on 0800 99 1234 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm), and online on the Pension Credit ‘How to claim’ page.