As the national charity for older people in Wales, Age Cymru urges pensioners on low incomes to put in a claim for pension credit without delay. Those eligible must make a claim before Friday 19 May to qualify for the first of three cost-of-living payments to be issued this year.
Announced as part of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, this year’s targeted cost-of-living payment will only be paid to older people in receipt of pension credit (and some other qualifying benefits). That’s why we at Age Cymru are stepping up the call for people to put in claims for this crucial benefit.
What is pension credit?
Pension credit tops up the weekly income of a single pensioner to £201.05 or a pensioner couple to £306.85, or more in some circumstances. It is entirely separate from the state pension and comes in two parts: guarantee credit and savings credit. And because an application for pension credit can be backdated by three months, those who begin the claiming process by Friday 19 May, and successfully meet the eligibility criteria, will also receive the first £301 cost-of-living payment.
Despite many struggling to pay their bills during the current cost-of-living crisis, more than £200mn worth of pension credit goes unclaimed in Wales each year. This is in addition to the huge amounts left unclaimed for a raft of other benefits.
As well as providing a much-needed income boost and automatic qualification for the Westminster government’s second year of cost-of-living payments, pension credit also opens the door to a wide range of additional support. This includes extra help with energy bills and other essential costs.
Obtaining pension credit can provide access to the following extra help:
- A one-off payment of £150 (previously £140) through the warm home discount scheme to help with the cost of energy this winter
- A cold weather payment of £25, paid automatically when the average temperature is 0°C or below over seven consecutive days
- Help with council tax and rent
- Reduced water bills
- Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital
- A free TV licence (if over-75)
- Cheaper telephone and home broadband deals
- An extra amount of pension credit for some carers worth up to £38.85 a week
To make a claim for pension credit, call the DWP pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or visit the website. It can be claimed by phone or online.
To keep up to date with all the current support available to help older people through the cost-of-living crisis visit Age Cymru’s cost-of-living advice online. To order a copy of the More Money in Your Pocket guide, or if you’d like to seek the support of our information and advice service about this or any other matter, call 0300 303 44 98 between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, or email us. We welcome correspondence in Welsh or English.
Support is available
Age Cymru is the force combining Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales. We are a registered charity and work with local Age Cymru partners across Wales to improve life for older people. We are funded by donations from the public, corporate partners, our trading enterprises, and the Welsh Government.
Our chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “Some people don’t claim pension credit as they may think they’re not eligible, perhaps because they own their own home or have savings. Some are put off by the claims process or simply don’t realise the range of support that is available to them in older age. And others might feel they are managing or don’t want to be seen as needing to claim.”
“We will continue to encourage older people to seek the support they need to claim all their benefit entitlements. And now that pension credit acts as a passport to additional cost-of-living payments, it is more important than ever that older people make that claim. More than 1.5mn older people in the UK already do so. It is support that can ease the struggle and take away some of the worry about paying for bills.”
If you’re a low-income pensioner, please take steps to access this support, even if you think you’re managing, or find the process intimidating. So much support and advice is available, including for navigating the process, so take action, reach out, and spread the word about pension credit this week.
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