Millions of UK residents could be missing out on pension credits amounting to an average of £3,000 every year, new government figures reveal.
Many retired people claim pension credit, but it’s estimated that around 1.3million retirees don’t, due to thinking they are not eligible to receive them.
The government has now launched a 12 week campaign in order to raise awareness, and get more people to claim the credit.
What is pension credit?
Pension credit is a means-tested benefit, which is there to help those on a lower income by giving them extra money throughout their retirement.
Who can get pension credit?
Pension credit is available for:
People who live in England, Scotland or WalesThose who are over the state pension age, which is currently set at 65 for both men and women - although this is set to rise to 66 in October 2020
You can claim pension credits even if you have savings, own your own home, are working, or if you've been turned down for them before.
How can I apply for pension credit?
To apply for pension credit, contact the claim line on 0800 99 1234.
It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7.30pm.
You will need to know:
Your National Insurance numberInformation about your income, savings and investmentsThe details for the account you want the money to be paid into
You will also need the same information for your partner, if you have one.
When should I apply?
The earliest possible date you can apply for the credit is four months before you reach your state pension age.
However, if you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.
Claiming pension credit can also provide access to other benefits, including help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills.
It’s worth noting that you can apply for housing benefit at the same time as you apply for pension credit - so you don’t need to fill out your details twice.
How much will I get?
The average Pension Credit payment is usually more than £58 per week, which works out at more than £3,000 per year.
How much you'll be paid depends on your individual circumstances, but you can check what you could expect to receive on the government calculator.
However, you can’t use the calculator if you or your partner:
are deferring your State Pensionown more than one propertyare self employed
Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at financial provider Royal London, said, "Only about 60 per cent of those currently entitled to pension credit claim it.
"There are so many misconceptions about who can claim it – these myths need to be busted if we are to boost take up of this valuable benefit."