Now more than ever, we need to ensure that all of the older people we work with are claiming every benefit they are entitled to. Many are missing out on thousands of pounds each year. This is due to various factors: not being aware of the benefits, assuming they won’t be eligible, being unsure of how to claim, fear of sharing personal information to make a claim, and fear of the impact on other benefits.
Pension Credit is one of the benefits that older people are missing out on. Approximately 800,000 individuals currently do not claim it, even though they are entitled to. Every person working with an older individual who is on a low income or any family member should have a conversation about Pension Credit to ensure they are aware and not missing out. Even if the older person only receives 20p per week of Pension Credit, the wider benefits they will receive as a result can be worth hundreds of pounds each year.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit tops up the state pension for those who haven’t paid in enough National Insurance contributions to receive a full state pension. There are two parts, and some individuals will receive both parts or just one.
This tops up your state pension to a minimum level for those who haven’t paid in enough National Insurance contributions.
(for people who reached State Pension Age before April 2016)
This rewards those who have saved and have a modest state pension. Some people may receive this and not the guaranteed element.
How much is Pension Credit?
If people have reached State Pension Age they will get topped up to a minimum income of:
- £201.05 a week if they are single
- £306.85 a week if they are a couple
If they’re over 65 and reached their State Pension Age before 6 April 2016, they could still qualify for Pension Credit if their weekly income is below:
- £240.90 if they are single
- £351.45 if they are a couple
(Source: GOV website)
Pension Credit is also a ‘gateway benefit’, which means it opens up access to a wide range of other financial support worth hundreds of pounds, including:
- Free TV licence
- Cost of living payments (anyone who applies now will receive two payments of £300.00; they will have missed the cut off date for the first payment of £300.00)
- Council tax reductions due to low income or being a single person
- Warm home discount
- Free dental care
- Free eye care
Pension Credit – resources to help raise awareness
- Eligibility and how to apply
- Promoting pension credit – government videos and fact sheets, and how to have conversations on pension credit.
- Pension credit calculator – easy to use calculator to check entitlement
Digital Co-ordinator, LOPF