Age UK is warning older people that “time is running out” to apply for Pension Credit, a benefit payment offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is one of the qualifying means-tested benefits for the Government’s £324 cost of living payment. Households are currently experiencing an exponential rise in their energy bills, as well as soaring inflation, with older people being worse affected.
This £324 is part of the Government’s larger £650 cost of living payment for people on means-tested benefits.
The support was rolled out in two instalments with the first £326 being awarded to Pension Credit claimants earlier this year.
Pensionerrs have until December 18, 2022 to apply for the DWP benefit to become entitled to the £324 cost of living payment.
This is only one week away and could significantly assist those who are struggling to make ends meet.
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Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, warned that the “cut-off date” for eligibility is fast approaching and those entitled to Pension Credit should apply as soon as possible.
Ms Abrahams explained: “We know that around 770,000 pensioner households are still missing out on Pension Credit and it’s likely that every one of them is struggling to manage their escalating bills at the moment.
“We’re urging anyone who’s finding it hard to pay for the basics such as food and energy to get in touch for a benefits check – claims must be made by mid-December in order to meet the cut-off date for eligibility for the extra payment.
“A successful claim – worth an average of £1,900 a year per household in addition to the cost of living payment – could be life-changing, giving people the confidence to eat well and keep their heating on over the coming months.”
On top of this, the Government has confirmed that benefit payments will rise by 10.1 percent next April in a further bid to assist those in need.
This is in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation for September which is sometimes used to determine the state pension triple lock.
One of the benefit payments which will receive a rate boost is Pension Credit but Ms Abrahams is urging for even more to be done in the winter months.
She added: ““Although it’s good news that the State Pension and benefits will rise in line with inflation from April, many older people are still extremely worried about staying warm and well over the coming months.
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“However there is a lot of extra support available to help those on the lowest incomes this winter and it’s not too late to claim it.
“Putting in a successful claim now for Pension Credit will mean it can be backdated by three months, which will not only entitle people to a £324 lump sum cost of living payment but will also open the door to a significant amount of additional help towards energy and other bills.”
What is Pension Credit?
This benefit payment awarded claimants extra money to help with their living expenses if they are of state pension age and on a low income,
It can also be to help people with housing costs, for example costs such as ground rent or service charges.
Extra amounts can be given to people if they are carers, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person.
Currently, Pension Credit tops up an individual’s weekly income to £182.60 if they are single and their joint weekly income is £278.70 if they have a partner.
With the 10.1 percent rate hike next year, single claimants will see their payments rise to £201.05 a week, which is the equivalent to £804 a month or £10,454 a year.
In comparison, those who are in a couple will experience their Pension Credit payments increase to £1,227 a month or £15,956 a year.