Pensioner unable to get £650 support due to extra £2.55 state pension income – ‘Unfair!’

Pension Credit: Expert discusses those not claiming benefit

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Cindy, 68, whose name has been changed, contacted Express.co.uk to share her situation and highlight the “injustice” she feels. After working for over 51 years, Cindy is entitled to full state pension of £185.15 per week. However earning the full amount has meant that she does not qualify for Pension Credit as she is over the limit of £182.60 per week.

She said: “So, because I have an extra £2.55 per week I do not qualify for Pension Credit which is a gateway to many other benefits.”

Being born in 1954 meant she was among the 1950s-born women affected by the state pension age increases for women. The changes meant she had to wait until December 2020 to receive her pension, even though she turned 65 in December 2019.

Cindy said that for most of her life she had completed admin jobs and made slightly over minimum wage.

State pension is her sole income, apart from lump sums she had taken from her workplace pensions.

She had workplace pensions worth £3,500 and £600 which she cashed in to help her get by since she’s been retired.

To claim Pension Credit, she phoned up and told them she gets the full new state pension and the employee told her she was over the maximum amount so could not award her the benefit. 

Pension Credit is a top-up amount, so it would only top her income up to £2.55 below her current income, but Cindy pointed out it is a gateway benefit – opening eligibility to other forms of support.

She said: “This is so wrong, you’re worse off working unless you have a really good job and earn enough.

“But if you’re at the bottom of the pile where I was, just above minimum wage, you’re never going to break even.

“It does not pay to work, that’s what I’ve figured out.”

Before she retired she knew wouldn’t be able to live off of the state pension so she had slash her spending.

She continued: “I got rid of my broadband and TV package I had, I cut back in my outgoings to charities.

“I got rid of absolutely everything so my outgoings are the bare minimum. To be honest that’s probably the only way I got through – and cashing in my pension pots.

“It just gave enough that you can manage.”

She felt wronged as Pension Credit is a gateway to many other benefits and discounts.

She said: “Its not even just the Pension Credit, it’s a gateway to everything, that’s what really annoyed me. Even how the Chancellor is giving pensioners £650 through Pension Credit, that fired me up.

“It’s unfair just because I have the full pension. I feel it’s a big injustice.”

If someone is entitled to Pension Credit, they can also get other help, such as:

Housing Benefit if they rent the property they live in

  1. Support for Mortgage Interest if they own the property they live in
  2. A council tax discount
  3. A free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
  4. Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
  5. Help with their heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme
  6. A discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if they’re moving house

She thinks there could be other people in a similar situation to her.

“It would be better if I didn’t receive the full state pension so I could have qualified for other things,” she said.

To get the full state pension someone must have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions. If someone has less, they will get a smaller pension.

But people can plug any gaps by paying voluntary contributions, which are known as Class 3 contributions.

This usually needs to be done within six years, but there are some exceptions.

Thankfully, Cindy will qualify for the extra £300 payment for pensioners, which was recently announced by Rishi Sunak to help during the cost of living crisis.

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