State Pension pays an amount which is based on individual national insurance records. It’s possible to receive just over £9,000 a year with a NI record of 35 years.
- State pension claims may be able to be backdated
Despite this, there will be many people approaching retirement age who will not be able to receive the full amount.
This could be exacerbated if they have limited resources elsewhere from private pensions or personal savings.
Thankfully, pensioners on low incomes may be able to receive what is known as a pension credit.
This is an income-related benefit made up of two parts which will top up income.
Pension credit can come in two forms which are guarantee credit and savings credit.
Guarantee credit will top up weekly income levels if it’s below £173.75 for single people or £265.20 for couples.
Savings credit can provide an additional top up of £13.97 for singletons or £15.62 for couples but it is only available for people who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016.
This will be a welcome boost for struggling state pensioners but further support can come through under certain circumstances.
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Pension credit can pay a higher amount if the claimant(s):
- Is disabled
- Has caring responsibilities or
- Is responsible for paying certain housing costs, which can include mortgage interest payments
It should also be noted that no tax is levied on pension credit payments, providing further financial relief.
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To claim pension credit a person must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have already reached state pension age.
Pension credit eligibility is primarily focused on income and the government has a specific method for identifying qualifying claimants.
The state will examine the following when working out eligibility:
- State pension
- Other pensions
- Most social security benefits, for example carer’s allowance
- Savings, investments over £10,000 – for these £1 is counted for every £500 or part £500
Pension credit can be claimed by phone but the government warns that it is taking longer than usual to apply this way because of coronavirus.
Thankfully, applications can also be sent through by post.
The claimant will need to have their national insurance number, information on their income and bank account details ready.
Applications can be put through up to four months before reaching state pension age and they can also be backdated by three months.
If being done by post, the government has a pension credit claim form on their website which can be downloaded, printed and then completed.
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