Amidst rising costs and tighter budgets, many British households are failing to claim the benefits they’re rightfully entitled to.
Recent data reveals that only 60% of those eligible for pension credit actually claimed it in the 2022 financial year. For those scratching their heads, let’s break that down: around 880,000 families didn’t grab this benefit, resulting in a staggering £2.1 billion left unclaimed!
To make matters worse, pensioners are also bypassing a whopping £1.3 billion in housing benefits. That’s an additional £3,400 per household, per year, left untouched.
Laura Suter, the head of personal finance at AJ Bell, weighs in on these concerning figures. “The latest estimates from the government show that many households are living on significantly lower incomes than necessary. Pensioners are leaving billions unclaimed, money that they can rightfully call theirs.”
With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the rising costs of essentials like heating, pensioners are among the hardest hit. “We know that more people are claiming pension credit, with claims in 2022-23 more than doubling from the previous year,” Suter added.
Furthermore, pension credit isn’t just about the money – it’s a ticket to other critical benefits like heating cost assistance, free TV licenses, and the upcoming £299 cost-of-living payment set for next Spring.
Pension Credit Unpacked
For those unaware, pension credit is a state-provided benefit aimed at supporting lower-income retirees.
In the 2023/24 financial year:
- If you’re over the state pension age of 66 and single with an income less than £201.05 a week, pension credit will make up the difference.
- Couples with a combined income less than £306.85 can also benefit.
It’s important to note that for pension credit calculations, your income consists of your state pension, other pensions, any earnings, and most social security benefits. Remember, it’s on you to claim the pension credit.
Claiming pension credit is not only about the immediate financial boost. It also opens doors to other benefits like heating cost assistance, housing benefit, free dental treatment, and free TV licenses for those aged 75 or over. Moreover, it qualifies you for the government’s cost-of-living payments.
How to Claim
If you believe you’re eligible, it’s crucial to take action. You can check your eligibility online, by phone, or post. If you’re uncertain about the application process, organizations like Age UK and Citizens Advice are ready to assist.
Good news for latecomers: Pension credit claims can be backdated by up to three months. So, if you claim now, you could get a lovely top-up in your first payment. Don’t wait – ensure you get what you deserve.