Pension Credit: Yvonne on living on the breadline
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Many older Britons will be concerned about rising prices and bills, which could be even more palpably felt this winter. In efforts to help, the Government has stepped in with a series of payments for those it deems to be most vulnerable.
However, there is limited time for some Britons to secure their eligibility – and pensioners may have only hours left.
People aged over 66 who are on a low income could get Pension Credit, which would consequently entitle them to the £650 payment being issued by the Government.
They have until today to make their application for Pension Credit, as claims can be backdated for a maximum of three months.
The extra £650 could make a substantial difference in covering increasing costs in food and energy.
Pension Credit is designed to top up incomes, and it can provide a vital financial boost.
However, it is often seen as a “gateway” benefit, meaning it opens up Britons to a wide range of support.
This can include free TV licences for over 75s, the Warm Home Discount and council tax reductions.
Understandably, this could make a huge difference to a person’s day to day life.
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Only people in receipt of means-tested benefits will be able to secure the extra £650 by the end of autumn – in two instalments.
This includes recipients of Pension Credit, so many people may want to investigate their eligibility.
The charity Turn2Us has urged people of state pension age to check if they could be eligible for the benefit.
Anna Stevenson, Senior Welfare Benefits Specialist at Turn2Us, said: “At a time where more people are being pushed to the financial brink, we are hearing from increasingly desperate people who don’t know where to turn.
“Pension Credit can act as a vital lifeline for people aged over 66 who might be on a low income, and it is therefore crucial for people to check if they can claim to receive additional money.
“The impact of the cost-of-living crisis cannot be underestimated, and extra sources of income will be a huge help for people to weather this financial storm.”
Currently, Pension Credit is a particularly underclaimed benefit.
Approximately two in five people who qualify for the benefit are not claiming, and so it is likely to be worth a check.
According to the DWP, in 2019/20 there was an estimated £1.7billion being left unclaimed.
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The Department has promoted initiatives such as Pension Credit Awareness Day to get more eligible people to claim.
Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, added: “Over two million older people are living in poverty and are in dire need of support to cover the cost of basic essentials.
“Many will be forced to choose between heating their homes or eating a meal this winter. This is not acceptable.
“There is support out there for older people on a low income in the shape of Pension Credit.
“Even if you are only entitled to a small top up, it opens the door to other important payments, including the recently announced cost of living support.”
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