Pension Credit: Thousands of pensioners are missing out on payments that average £64 a week – Guy Opperman MP
The UK has never paid our pensioners more. Our annual state pension bill is £100 billion pounds, up from £60 billion in 2010.
Around 1.5 million pensioners across Great Britain do receive the extra help from Pension Credit – a top up to their retirement incomes, which crucially offers a springboard to a variety of other bits of financial support, like a free TV licence, housing support, and more.
In Scotland alone, just over 137,000 pensioners claim Pension Credit. But here is the problem.
There are still hundreds of thousands of pensioners – many of them right here in Scotland – who might be eligible for Pension Credit but simply are not claiming it. They are missing out on this extra boost, which last year was worth, on average, around £64 a week.
That’s why the Department for Work and Pensions has teamed up with Age UK and the BBC to redouble our efforts to raise awareness of Pension Credit, helping people understand how to apply, what they are eligible for, and what other benefits they can expect – such as a free TV licence for those over 75.
I’m particularly thrilled to be working alongside Len Goodman and Rustie Lee to encourage people to apply for Pension Credit and use their profile to reach those who may in the past have been reticent about claiming it.
Pensioners whose income is below £177.10 (for individuals) or £270.30 (for couples) per week may be eligible to receive Pension Credit. And if your income is higher, you might still be eligible for Pension Credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, or you have particular housing costs.
Even if you own your own home or have some savings it’s worth checking – you might be surprised.
Anyone can use the Department for Work and Pension’s free online Pension Credit calculator to check eligibility and get an estimate of what they might receive. If the calculator shows you might be entitled, or even if you aren’t sure, then I strongly urge you to make a claim – this can be easily done online. Or you can call the DWP Pension Credit Freephone claim line on 0800 99 1234, or apply by post. Organisations such as Age Scotland or your local Citizens Advice Scotland can also help you to claim.
So, I’m asking Scotsman readers today, if you have a relative or are caring for someone then please help them to make a claim. Even a small amount of Pension Credit can open the door to a wealth of other support including help with council tax, housing benefit, NHS dental treatment and the Warm Home Discount. This is worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds. And we don’t want your mum or dad to miss out.
If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, please do take just a few minutes today to check your eligibility. I want everyone to receive the support they are entitled to – and the application process couldn’t be more straightforward.
Guy Opperman is Conservative MP for Hexham and UK minister for pensions and financial inclusion
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