Last week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched a new campaign calling on people of State Pension age, their friends and family, to check eligibility for Pension Credit, a benefit which could be worth more than £3,300 each year.
Pension Credit can help to top-up the income of retired people, even if they already receive a State or private pension or have another source of income.
Some older people think because they have savings or own their home they would not be eligible for any Pension Credit, but the DWP said thousands could be missing out on the extra money and discounts it provides every month.
More than 1.4 million people over State Pension age across the UK are currently receiving the benefit, including some 131,600 living in Scotland, and accessing additional financial help with Council Tax, Housing Benefit, hearing bills and a free TV License for the over 75s.
However, many more are still not claiming this extra financial support, which could help to offset the cost of living crises.
One of the quickest ways to find out if you are eligible, and how much extra you could potentially be paid every week, is to use the Pension Credit calculator on the GOV.UK website.
How to use the Pension Credit calculator
Pension credit is an income-related benefit aimed at people living in the UK over State Pension age.
It offers older people a weekly top-up to their income – you can choose to be paid every two or four weeks.
It’s available to single pensioners, including widows and widowers, as well as couples.
To use the online calculator, you will need details of:
- earnings, benefits and pensions
- savings and investments
You will need the same details for your partner if you have one.
You will be presented by a series of questions with multiple choice answer options.
- Your date of birth
- Your residential status
- Where in the UK you live
- Whether you are registered blind
- Which benefits you currently receive
- How much you receive each week for any benefits you get
- Whether someone is paid Carer’s Allowance to look after you
- How much you get each week from pensions – State Pension, private and work pensions
- Any employment earnings
- Any savings, investments or bonds you have
Once you have answered these questions, a summary screen shows your responses, allowing you to go back and change any answers before submitting.
The Pension Credit calculator then displays how much benefit you could receive each week.
All you have to do then is follow the link to the application page to find out exactly what you will get from the DWP, including access to other financial support.
There’s also an option to print off the answers you give using the calculator tool to help you complete the application form quicker without having to look out the same details again.
Try the Pension Credit Calculator for yourself or family member to make sure you’re receiving all the financial support you are entitled to claim.
Who cannot use the Pension Credit calculator?
You cannot use the calculator if you or your partner:
- Are deferring your State Pension
- Own more than one property
- Are self-employed
- Have housing costs (such as service charges or Crown Tenant rent) which are neither mortgage repayments nor rent covered by Housing Benefit
How to claim Pension Credit
You can start your application up to four months before you reach State Pension age.
You can claim any time after you reach State Pension age but your claim can only be backdated for three months.
This means you can get up to three months of Pension Credit in your first payment if you were eligible during that time.
You will need:
- Your National Insurance number
- Information about your income, savings and investments
- Your bank account details, if you’re applying by phone or by post
If you are backdating your claim, you’ll need details of your income, savings and investments on the date you want your claim to start.
You can use the online service if:
To check your entitlement, phone the Pension Credit helpline directly on 0800 99 1234 or visit the GOV.UK website here to find out how much you could get.
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