‘Changed my life!’ Pensioner, 77, explains what £3,000 boost to state pension means to her

Therese Coffey outlines the benefits of Pension Credit scheme

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State pension payments can be vital for older people, but these often hinge on building up enough National Insurance (NI) contributions throughout a person’s lifetime. For Maureen, 77, building up to the full state pension sum was not possible following her medical retirement due to health conditions.

Sadly, she suffered a back injury at the age of 14 which went on to impact her day-to-day life and work as a librarian.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Maureen described the impact of Pension Credit on her finances.

She said: “Pension Credit changed my life. I had to medically retire, but before that I had given up work to take care of my son when he was born.

“I paid what was then known as the small stamp, but I had explained to me that I would only get a very small pension when I reached retirement age, and I would have to claim on my husband’s record.

“Well, eventually, we divorced. But when I retired at 60 I had the grand sum of £1.63 per week. That’s what I was qualified for.

“Pension Credit has definitely made life bearable for me.”

Maureen explained how she could only claim a certain amount on her ex-husband’s pension due to the fact they were divorced.

Thankfully, this did bring up her pension entitlement somewhat, but money still proved a stretch.

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She added: “When I got Pension Credit on top of that, it made the difference. That was a big help for me.”

However, it is not just the payment of Pension Credit itself which can be useful for those eligible, as the sum is described as a “gateway benefit”.

This means it can open up eligibility to a wider range of support, such as a free TV licence for over 75s, help with health costs, and eligibility for the Warm Home Discount.

Maureen said: “There’s all sorts of things Pension Credit has helped me with.

“Like the TV Licence. I’m lucky, I get Pension Credit and I don’t have to pay – otherwise I wouldn’t have TV.”

Consequently, Maureen has urged older individuals to see whether they could benefit from Pension Credit themselves.

Experts estimate the sum is worth £3,000 per year on average, and so it could significantly help Britons with their costs.

Maureen concluded: “I would definitely encourage people to look into Pension Credit if they can.

“I tried to get my friend to look into Pension Credit, but unfortunately she was slightly over the limit and she couldn’t claim.

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“But it’s made such a difference to me, I think it could for others as well.”

Maureen said that if sharing her story gets anyone, even just one more person, to claim Pension Credit and become “a bit better off”, she’d be happy.

“We’re all in the same boat, especially when you get to our age.

“Sadly, it’s another ‘them and us’ situation. That’s what my grandmother would have called it.

“It’s not easy. It helps me to know there are other people in the same circumstances, and hopefully this just might get through to someone.”

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