The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced a new system to help people over 66 claim for additional support.
It took around 40 days for new claims for Pension Credit made between April 1 and July 3 to be processed according to the DWP. Those over State Pension age who submit an application this week, could receive financial support by mid-October with the current rate of processing.
The new system introduced by the DWP has been created to help even more people aged over 66 access support worth around £3,300 on average each year. An interactive Pension Credit claim form can now be completed online, downloaded and posted to the Pension Service.
Anyone who can’t claim the benefit online or over the phone could benefit from this new system as progress on the 24-page application form can be saved and completed at a later time. A successful Pension Credit claim can be used as a ‘passport’ to other claims including Council Tax reductions, help with housing and mortgage payments, discounted NHS treatments and free TV Licences for the over-75s.
£1.7 billion is being left unclaimed by around 850,000 State Pensioners across the UK according to latest figures released by the DWP, the Daily Record reports. 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, here.
Below is everything you need to know about Pension Credit.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit provides 1.5 million Brits over State Pension age with extra money to help with living costs if they’re on a low income. The DWP said hundreds of thousands could be missing out on the extra money and discounts it provides every month despite some older people thinking because they have savings or own their home they would not be eligible.
Other benefits to claim if you get Pension Credit
If you qualify for Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as:
- Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
- Support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in
- Council Tax discount
- Free TV licence if you are aged 75 or over
- Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- Help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme
- A discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you are moving house
Mixed aged older couples and Pension Credit
A ‘mixed age couple’ – a couple where one partner is of State Pension age and the other is under it – are considered to be a ‘working age’ couple when checking entitlement to means-tested benefits according to a lay change in May 2019.
They can only claim Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit until they are both State Pension age.
Before this DWP change, a mixed age couple could be eligible to claim the more generous State Pension age benefits when just one of them reached State Pension age.
How the Pension Credit calculator works
To use the calculator, you will need details of:
- earnings, benefits and pensions
- savings and investments
You’ll 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
A summary screen shows your responses, once you have answered these questions so you can go back and change any answers before submitting.
The Pension Credit calculator then displays how much benefit you could receive each week. With the link to the application page, you can 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.
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
Applications can start 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’re 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:
- you have already claimed your State Pension
- there are no children or young people included in your claim
To check your entitlement, phone the Pension Credit helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the GOV.UK Pension Credit calculator here to find out how much you could get.