State pension age? You could be missing out on £2,000 a year cash – how to claim benefit

The state pension can be claimed by eligible people once a person reaches state pension age. However, a person may get a different amount to the full state pension, with the amount a person getting depending on the recipient’s National Insurance record.

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It may be that some pensioners can claim a means-tested form of support.

This is known as Pension Credit, and the latest DWP figures published last month shows that, for the financial year 2017/18, six out of 10 of those entitled to this benefit claim it.

The official statistics show that 70 percent of the total amount of Pension Credit that could have been claimed was claimed.

However, up to 1.2 million families who were entitled to receive Pension Credit did not claim the benefit.

The DWP figures show that up to £2.5billion of available Pension Credit went unclaimed.

On average, this worked out at around £2,000 per year for each family entitled to receive Pension Credit who did not claim the benefit.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “Pension Credit is designed to top-up the incomes of the poorest pensioners but four out of 10 entitled to claim – about 1.2 million families – are failing to claim.

“That is up to £2.5billion of cash that is not being received, an average of around £2,000 a family.

“These latest figures show that take up rates are lower for couples at 55 percent than they are for single females (62 percent) or for single men (67 percent).

“And those aged over 75 are slightly less likely to claim than younger people.

“The human story to this is the hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to make ends meet who may not realise financial help is available or do not know how to navigate the system.

“Our own research reveals that four in 10 (42 percent) of those aged over 65 had never checked if they were eligible for a benefit, a figure that is higher among homeowners (49 percent) and those aged over 80 (57 percent).

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“This year the decision to end free TV licences for over-75s except those receiving Pension Credit could help highlight the problem and encourage more people to claim.

“Ultimately the onus is on people to claim for themselves.

“Checking or yourself or for an elderly relative or friend is not onerous.

“The government website has links to useful third-party calculators while other sources are Citizens Advice and local councils.”

Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, said the data “shows how timely the government’s campaign to boost Pension Credit is”.

She continued: “For too long take up of this valuable benefit has remained stubbornly low at around 60 percent.

“Given that it acts as a valuable boost to the income of the poorest pensioners and acts as a gateway to other valuable benefits we need to see urgent action to increase take up and improve the lives of over 1 million pensioners.”

The DWP says the quickest and easiest way to claim Pension Credit is by phone, and this can be done by calling 0800 99 1234.

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