Therese Coffey outlines the benefits of Pension Credit scheme
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Pensioners are often stretching their money, and this is especially the case with the current cost of living crisis. However, there could be help at hand through a payment available to many people who have reached state pension age. The sum is called Pension Credit, and can be used as a helpful retirement top-up for those on low income.
A common misconception of Pension Credit is that people have to have no pension or income whatsoever to claim.
But individuals may find they are eligible even if they have a pension or an additional source of income.
The problem lies in the fact that there are currently estimated to be approximately one million pensioners who aren’t claiming, even though they are eligible.
As a result, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is encouraging pensioners to check if they could benefit.
So, what are the key aspects of eligibility for Pension Credit? The DWP has outlined the details.
Most importantly, a person must have reached state pension age in order to apply for support.
But they must also be resident in England, Scotland or Wales to benefit.
Pension Credit tops up a person’s weekly income to £177.10 if they are single, or joint income to £270.30 for those in a relationship.
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The top up is known as Guarantee Credit, but this is not the only aspect of the payment.
Certain individuals may be able to get the Savings Credit part of Pension Credit if both of the following apply:
- A person reached state pension age before April 6, 2016
- A person saved some money for retirement.
Individuals will get up to £14.04 Savings Credit a week if single, and if they have a partner, up to £15.71 a week.
People may still get some Savings Credit even if they do not get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.
On average, Pension Credit is thought to be worth £3,000 per year, showing its advantages for older people.
While the amount a person receives will vary, this indicates individuals could benefit and should check eligibility.
To claim, Britons will need certain information to hand, including:
- National Insurance number
- information about any income, savings and investments they have
- information about income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate their application to (usually three months ago or the date they reached state pension age).
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People will be able to start their application up to four months before they reach state pension age.
Potentially the most convenient way to submit a claim is by applying online through the service.
This, however, can only be done if a person has already applied for their state pension.
Alternatively, individuals can apply by phone or post if this is more appropriate for them.
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