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£1.7 billion in Pension Credit unclaimed
This week, UK financial security charity Turn2us today launched its ‘don’t rule it out, find out’ campaign, which urges squeezed pensioners to check if they could receive pension credit. It could be worth an average of £3,500 a year.
This Pension Credit Awareness Week (12-16 June), the charity urges anyone over 66 on a low income, or their family and friends, to spend just ten minutes on its free online benefits calculator or call its information line on 0808 802 2000 if accessing the internet is not an option.
The quick, free and confidential online calculator helps people find out if they are eligible for all sorts of state benefits, including pension credit, which is paid in addition to the state pension and is available even if you have savings and own your own home.
In the past year alone, more than 300,000 people over the state pension age of 66 used the Turn2us benefits calculator to find out what additional support they may be entitled to. One in seven of those (39,235 people) found out they were eligible for Pension Credit which, at an average of £3,500 per person per year, adds up to more than £137million in extra state benefits found by pensioners on low incomes.
Turn2us director of impact and innovation Michael Clarke says:
“Research shows lots of pensioners don’t know pension credit exists, and many others rule out finding out as they assume they’re not eligible because of their savings or owning their own home.
“The reality is a single pensioner getting by on an income of less than £201.05 a week, or a couple with under £306.85 a week, could be eligible even if they’re homeowners with savings of up to £10,000.”
Known as a ‘gateway benefit’ receiving Pension Credit means you could automatically be eligible for other support, such as free dental care, extra payments to help with heating, rent or mortgage interest and a free TV license (the latter being available if you’re also over 75).
Last year during Pension Credit Awareness Week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said that while 1.4 million pensioners in Britain receive it, £1.7bn is still left unclaimed. DWP reports people are put off for a range of reasons, from wrongly thinking they’re not eligible because of savings or owning their own home to not wanting to be seen as needing to claim, or thinking the process will be complicated or confusing.
Sarah Pennels, their head of financial capability at Royal London, says:
“The fact so many pensioners are missing out on Pension Credit in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is worrying. This benefit provides much needed additional income but also means people qualify for help with rent, council tax and other bills and benefits because Pension Credit is a gateway benefit to other support.”
If you think you might be eligible – don’t rule it out, find out – by using the Turn2us free online benefits calculator on our website, turn2us.org.uk, or, if you don’t have access to the internet, call the Turn2us information line on: 0808 802 2000, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Mondays-Fridays.