Martin Lewis outlines the Warm Home Discount criteria
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State Pension age Britons may be entitled to receive a Warm Home Discount each winter to help with the cost of their heating bills. To be eligible, one must be in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, a payment designed to top up an older person’s retirement income. However, research undertaken by charity Independent Age, has shown more than 630,000 older people across the UK potentially missed out on the £140 discount for energy bills last year.
This is because although people are eligible to receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, many are failing to claim the sum.
Statistics have indicated a widespread problem when it comes to take-up of Pension Credit generally.
It asserted Pension Credit has the worst uptake of any income-related benefit, not rising above 64 percent for approximately a decade.
Across the payment as a whole, it is estimated up to one million people are currently missing out on the support to which they are entitled.
The Warm Home Discount scheme runs between September and March each year, to offer a discount on electricity or gas bills.
It is not paid directly to a person, but can regardless provide important financial aid during the colder months.
As the extent of the situation was uncovered, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, commented on the matter.
She said: “Sadly, these Warm Home Discount figures are another example of how much people are missing out on life-changing entitlements because they are simply not aware of how Pension Credit can help them.
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“In the depths of a cold winter, a well heated home is vital to good health, especially when people are having to spend more time at home due to the pandemic.
“We heard all too often from people in later life who have to choose between eating and heating their homes.
“If more people were aware of Pension Credit, it has the potential to help them afford the basics in life again.”
People in receipt of Guarantee Credit are known as the ‘core group’ for Pension Credit.
They will qualify, if on July 5 2020, all of the following apply:
- A person’s energy supplier is part of the scheme
- A person’s name, or their partner’s, is on the bill
- A person receives Guarantee Credit – even if they are in receipt of Savings Credit as well
Independent Age has now called upon the Government to issue further guidance on Pension Credit and ensure those entitled to a Warm Home Discount receive one.
This action, it has said, is now more important than ever.
Ms Alsina concluded: “The injustice of Pension Credit not reaching those entitled to it has been an issue across multiple different Governments – it cannot continue.
“The Government must urgently create an action plan that includes awareness campaigns, a full communications strategy, and new high quality, up-to-date research into who is not claiming Pension Credit and why.
“By working together to identify and overcome any barriers, we are confident we can improve uptake and ultimately, improve the lives of the up to one million people in later life who are facing unnecessary financial struggles.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for Work and Pensions for comment.
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