State pension age: Britons urged to act as many miss out on up to £9,000 a year
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State Pension payments can provide important support to Britons as they reach the eligible age and begin to leave the workforce. Often, the payment of the state pension serves as a primary source of income for older individuals. As such, many will be hoping to get as much out of the sum from the DWP as is possible to see them through retirement.
However, one former pensions minister is sounding the alarm on an issue which could see many pensioners missing out.
Pension expert Baroness Ros Altman has urged people of state pension age to act to see if they could claim more support.
The support to which she refers can be gained through a system known as Pension Credit.
Pension Credit is designed to help people of state pension age with their living costs if they are on a low income.
The sum, the Government explains, can additionally help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charge.
However, despite the assistance the sum can provide, many people are in fact missing out.
Indeed, as highlighted by Baroness Altman, DWP figures show an estimated £1.8billion was unclaimed during the 2018/19 financial year.
It is thought some one million households are not receiving the support to which they are entitled.
Baroness Altman took to her personal blog, entitled PensionsandSavings to urge people to take action.
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She wrote: “Does your granny, granddad, mum, dad, auntie, uncle, friend or neighbour struggle to make ends meet?
“Are they one of over a million pensioners missing out on thousands of pounds a year in extra money for basic necessities like heating, rent, mortgage, medical and council tax bills?
“The money is rightfully theirs but many don’t even ask for it. So, if you visit after lockdown, you have a chance to help them apply.”
During the pandemic, the financial situation for many individuals has become more precarious.
Indeed, Baroness Altman has stated many pensioners are facing poverty in later life due to a lack of funds.
As a result, now more than ever could be the right time to claim Pension Credit if one is eligible.
To be eligible for the payment, a person must live in England, Scotland, or Wales and have reached state pension age.
The sum is split into two tiers, and what a person receives is dependent on their circumstances.
Guarantee Credit is the first element, which tops up a person’s income to a minimum guaranteed level.
For a singleton, the weekly income level is topped up to £177.10, while for couples this level is £270.30.
Alternatively, Savings Credit is available for individuals who reached state pension age before April 2016.
This helps those who have set aside funds for their retirement, such as through savings or a pension.
Single people can get up to £14.04 per week, and couples £15.71 per week.
However, individuals must earn above a threshold amount of £153.70, and couples, £244.12.
Baroness Altman highlighted up to £9,000 a year for single pensioners could be gained through a Pension Credit claim.
But many are unaware of the other potential benefits of a Pension Credit claim which could help them in other aspects of their lives.
This is because the sum is known as a gateway benefit which can help with council tax, TV licences for the over 75s, and housing costs.
To apply, Britons are encouraged to visit the official Government website to action their claim.
They will need their National Insurance number, as well as information about income, savings and investments.
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