The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are encouraging pensioners to find out whether they are able to claim a free TV licence, along with other benefits through Pension Credit, with thousands of people currently missing out. Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was asked about Pension Credit in the House of Commons on Tuesday and urged retirees to check their eligibility in order to receive various benefits.
During Tuesday’s session, Ms Coffey explained that there are still many people who are not claiming their Pension Credit entitlement.
She said: “Our estimate at the moment is that 75 percent of people who we think could be eligible, do take up the income side of the pension credit.
“What has a much lower take up is the saving side of pension credit, and this is because sometimes when people do the calculation, they may get something like a penny or tuppence a week and may not think it worthwhile doing the whole application.”
For those unaware, Pension Credit is a benefit for people who are on lower incomes and are over State Pension age. Its aim is to give additional support to pensioners and boost their income. As Ms Coffey intimated, there are two parts to Pension Credit which can potentially be applied for, with the amount that can be received varying dependant on which part a pensioner is entitled to.
Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit are the two prongs of Pension Credit, with Guarantee Credit topping up one’s weekly income to £177.10 for single pensioners and £270.30 for couples and Savings Credit giving single retirees up to £14.04 extra per week, or £15.71 for those who are married or in a civil partnership.
An advantage of Pension Credit is that it can be claimed regardless of whether a pensioner has actually retired or not, meaning even if one is still working, they can still apply even if they have not retired. Even if it is only a minor amount, the Government is encouraging pensioners to find out whether they are eligible, as Pension Credit could provide a welcome boost to their income.
Pension Credit can be claimed any time after reaching state pension age and it is possible to apply up to four months before one wants to begin receiving it. It is better to apply sooner rather than later though, as claims can only be backdated for three months.
Even if one applies for Pension Credit and discovers that they are not in fact eligible, they can still apply for Universal Credit as another way of adding to their regular income.