“Did you know that 40% of pensioners entitled to Pension Credit do not claim it?”

Tuesday March 5th 2024


Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

These weeks pensioners are receiving notification from the DWP of the pension they will be paid as from April but did you know that 40% of pensioners entitled to Pension Credit do not claim it?

This is a figure that has remained unchanged for decades. So what is it? You can check this out on-line (it is a UK benefit) if you qualify, or contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or my office.

Broadly speaking when you apply for Pension Credit your income is calculated. If you have a partner, your income is calculated together. If you qualify it tops up your weekly income to £201.05 if you’re single or your joint weekly income to £306.85 if you have a partner.

Even if your income is higher, you might still be eligible for Pension Credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, you have savings or you have housing costs.

Apart from that direct income boost if you get Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as: Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in, cost of Living Payments, support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in, a discount, a free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments.

If you get a certain type of Pension Credit, help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme and even a discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you’re moving house.

So you see for that 40% of pensioners also probably in the Borders it’s worth seeing if you are entitled.

Indeed, why the UK government does not improve uptake makes me cross. When pensioners received that notification of increases from April there is nothing on that letter to advise on the possibility of Pension Credit. Why not? When you think the UK Treasury is estimated to save £1.7 billion from not paying it and in Midlothian alone it is calculated that some £2.5 million goes unclaimed.

Oh and if you are over 80 be grateful, you’re still getting an extra 25p a week. What an insult.

In these tough times with the UK government taking us from austerity into recession every claim counts. Please do chase this up if you think you might be entitled, and even if you are not sure. My office would be pleased to help and all contacts are confidential.

You can find out more about Pension Credit on the HMRC website HERE.

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