Pension credit: Rees-Mogg urges Brits to check eligibility
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
The UK State Pension is the worst in the developed world but the poorest pensioners can boost their income by claiming Pension Credit. Yet too many do not know it is available, or how to make a claim.
More than 2.1 million pensioners live in poverty, official figures show, of whom roughly half are in severe poverty.
Claiming Pension Credit can turn lives around, and campaigners are calling on the Government to boost take up.
An incredible, £1.6 billion of Pension Credit sits unclaimed every year. More than a million people, a third of those eligible, could claim on average £1,600 a year, worth an extra £30.77 a week.
Charity Independent Age has been calling on the Government to boost Pension Credit take up since 2019, said chief executive Deborah Alsina. “It has the potential to lift roughly three in 10 pensioners out of poverty and cut severe poverty by half.”
Oxfordshire pensioner Yvonne DeBurgo, 76, knows what it’s like to live on less than the State Pension, and found herself scrimping and scraping for every penny.
With her husband dead, Yvonne struggled to make ends meet on her own. “In the winter, I couldn’t afford to put the heating on so would sit wrapped up in clothes, but my bungalow was still really cold.”
Yvonne added: “Friends would invite me out for coffee, but I couldn’t afford to pay for a drink in a cafe so I wouldn’t go, and had to make do with old clothes.”
She didn’t even have the money to buy new clothing and essentials like underwear. “I thought it would be this way for the rest of my life, it was a bleak future.”
Yvonne was one of 4.4 million women who paid a reduced rate of NI on the assumption they would claim on their husband’s contributions, known as the “married women’s stamp”. This left her with little to live on after she retired from her receptionist job at age 60.
Five years ago, Yvonne realised she was eligible for Pension Credit and the top-up changed her life. “Now I can have the heating on, and go out for coffee and socialise again. I feel less isolated and alone.”
Pension Credit also acts as a gateway to other benefits, Yvonne added. “I have also been able to afford glasses, so I can read books again, and can read the subtitles that I need to have on the TV.”
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit that tops up the incomes the poorest retirees to £177.10 a week for single people and £270.30 for couples.
TV Licence warning: DWP warns 1000s are missing out on free licences [INSIGHT]
Tory voters vow to desert Boris if Sunak breaks triple lock [REVEAL]
How to avoid running out of cash in retirement [ANALYSIS]
Carers, the severely disabled or those responsible for a child or young person might get extra help. Some may qualify even if they have other income, savings or own their home.
Pension Credit claimants with a disability may get an extra £67.30 a week if they qualify for attendance allowance or the middle or highest rate of the disability living allowance care component.
Those claiming carer’s allowance could get an extra £37.70 a week.
Claimants may also get housing benefit if they rent, or support for mortgage interest if a homeowner.
They may also qualify for council tax reduction, a free TV licence if 75 over, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses, transport cost for hospital appointments and heating costs.
You can apply by post or online at Gov.uk, or by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234. Families, friends and neighbours can all help vulnerable loved ones claim.
Source: Read Full Article