State Pension age Britons usually receive payments from the government after years of National Insurance contributions. The state pension provides important financial support to millions of people, and can be especially useful during retirement. But many are unaware they could receive additional payments from the government, which, in turn, could unlock other levels of support.
Eligible people of state pension age can receive Pension Credit, which is an income-related payment.
It is split into two tiers, Savings Credit and Guarantee Credit, with the amount that people receive dependent on their circumstances.
Guarantee Credit tops up a person’s weekly income if it is below £173.75 for single people, or £265.20 for couples.
However, people could still be eligible if they have savings, a pension or own their own home.
Earlier in 2020, the decision was taken to scrap the free entitlement for all over 75s, a move which garnered significant controversy.
It has meant, though, that the importance of claiming the Pension Credit sum a person is entitled to, has grown significantly.
If Britons do not wish to pay the £157.50 annual fee, and they are entitled to Pension Credit, they have been encouraged to claim the sum.
To qualify for Pension Credit, a person must live in England, Scotland or Wales, and have reached state pension age.
An application for the sum can be started up to four months before a person reaches state pension age, but can also be done at any time.
It is important to note, however, that a claim can only be backdated for three months, but this will mean a person can get up to three months of Pension Credit in their first payment.
To apply, certain information must be kept to hand, which includes:
- a National Insurance number
- bank account details
- information relating to income, savings and investments
There are a number of ways to apply, but the government has encouraged an online application process as the quickest, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online service can be used by those who have already claimed their state pension, and who have no children or young people included in their claim.
Alternatively, pensioners may wish to apply for the sum of money via phone or post.
Applicants of Pension Credit are advised to use an independent benefits calculator to find out more about their circumstances.
Such tools are available through Turn2Us, entitledto, and Policy in Practice, which are recommended by the government as free and anonymous.
This may also help Britons understand if they can receive any other forms of financial support.