Millions are eligible for tax-free DWP benefit but aren’t aware they can clai…

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With more pensioners at risk of falling into poverty as high inflationary pressures persist, Britons are being urged to check they are claiming all of the support they’re entitled to.

Pension Credit is a tax-free benefit distributed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to help those retired and on lower incomes with living costs, and it’s worth an average of £3,500 per year. The benefit works to “top-up” a person’s state pension.

Pension Credit is, however, separate from the state pension and people can claim it even if they have other income, savings, or own their own home.

But despite the sizeable boost it can give, an estimated £1.7billion worth of the benefit is not being claimed. 

Pension Credit amounts

There are two types of Pension Credit available; Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, and by applying, it can provide people with access to additional benefits like housing benefits, NHS dental care, council tax discounts, and more.

Currently, Guarantee Credit tops up a person’s weekly income to a guaranteed level of £201.05 if they are single, or for those with partners, a joint weekly income level of £306.85.

Savings Credit provides additional funds to those who have made some provision towards their retirement by saving or contributing to a pension other than the basic state pension.

This component provides people with a top-up of £15.94 a week if they’re single, or £17.84 a week for those with partners.

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People may get extra amounts if they have other responsibilities, conditions and costs to account for, making for a much-needed income boost to many in need. Successful claimants can also be eligible for cost of living payments worth hundreds, making it worth the check.

However, it must be noted that Pension Credit is not automatic. It needs to be claimed, which answers for the significant lack of uptake.

Who is eligible for Pension Credit?

Firstly, a person must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached the state pension age (currently 66 and over). They or their partner must also be in receipt of housing benefits.

If this applies, the person must then work out their total weekly income. This is calculated to include the person’s state pension, other pensions, earnings from employment and self-employment, and most social security benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance.

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People are most likely to be eligible for Pension Credit if their total weekly income is roughly under £220. However, if their income is higher, they might still be eligible.

If a person has a disability, cares for someone, has savings, or they have housing costs, more credits are available to provide an additional boost.

So, even if a person only passes the first stage of eligibility, people can check the website online here or call the Pension Credit helpline to see if they qualify for something else.

People can view the full list of additional benefits, what they can receive, and whether or not they qualify for each individual benefit on the Government website.

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