‘A very useful thing’ – Thousands of pensioners missing out on up to £3,000 each year

Pension Credit: Expert discusses those not claiming benefit

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More than £1.5billion in Pension Credit went unclaimed in 2020 leaving up to 850,000 people over the age of 66 short of what they’re eligible for. This is money low income pensioners are entitled to but don’t get because they don’t claim it.

With the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills, Pension Credit could be a welcome extra help for those who need it and claim it.

On BBC Money Box on Saturday, Henry Tapper, of the Pension Playpen discussed a new initiative from inside the pension industry to tackle the problem that a third of the pensioners who need this extra money don’t get it.

Mr Tapper described the take up of Pension Credit as “feeble” as people are giving up thousands of pounds each year.

He said: “[People are missing out on] up to £3,000 a year and that is because you don’t just get the benefit of the Pension Credit, but it’s a door to more.

“A door to things like council tax reductions, free TV licence for over 75s, there’s a whole realm of great things that you can get if you can claim pension credit.”

Presenter Paul Lewis also mentioned that successful claimants can also get most of their rent paid too.

“It’s a very useful thing,” he said.

Mr Tapper explained that some people do not claim Pension Credit because “they do not know about it” or they just don’t know how to check if they are eligible.

He continued: “There is also some concern for people that if they claim it, they might lose out on other things.

“It’s probably the least taken up benefit and it really is time we got on with doing something about it.”

People are entitled to Pension Credit if their total income from April this year is £182.60 or less.

“Just a smidge below the state pension,” he added.

From April 11, the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit could top up a pensioner’s income to £182.60 if they are single, or £278.70 if they are in a couple.

Mr Tapper explained that people may also be entitled if they earn a little more than that (£182.60) but their extra earnings is from their retirement savings.

If this is the case, people could get savings credit which is another element of Pension Credit which is “equally valuable”.

This is only available to people who reached state pension age before April 6, 2016, and pays out a lower weekly sum.

Single pensioners could get up to £14.04 a week, while for couples it is £15.71.

From April 11, these rates will increase to £14.48 and £16.20.

An added bonus of claiming Pension Credit is that people who receive it are automatically entitled to other benefits as well.

These include:

  • Help with paying heating costs
  • A free TV licence (aged 75 and over)
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Housing Benefit (for those who rent the property they live in)
  • Support for Mortgage Interest (for people who own the property they live in)
  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments

Pensioners can apply for Pension Credit via the Gov.uk website, by phone, or by post.

They will have their income tested when applying to see if they are eligible and how much they could get.

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