The charity Independent Age has been investigating the Pension Credit system. They have kindly produced figures from each constituency of Pension Credit uptake and where improvements can be made.
In my constituency around 2470 residents have an open claim with a further 1955 likely to be eligible for the support... There's an estimated £4218,515 unclaimed.
So what is Pension Credit? It is an income-related benefit which tops up a pensioner's weekly income. This is because a pensioner is most likely retired and not going to return to work.
For the majority of pensioners, if you are not in receipt of a full state pension, no longer working and have limited savings, you are likely to be eligible for the support. Although some in receipt of full State Pension may be eligible depending on their financial circumstances.
Pension Credit can pay around £167 a week for single people, with additions for those caring for children. The benefit can also passport residents to other forms of support such as Housing Benefit to help with rent or Mortgage Interest Loan support if you own your home, help with the costs of NHS prescriptions, dental treatment or the cost of glasses, cold weather payments, council tax discounts and TV license subscriptions.
I am committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to so that they can enjoy dignity and security in their later years. I am pleased to say that the DWP has now committed to engaging with people who look likely to be eligible for Pension Credit at pivotal stages such as when they initially claim their State Pension or report a change in circumstances.
However I am aware that there are many residents of pensionable age who may be unsure whether they are entitled to the support.
So if you are of pensionable age and on a low income, it is certainly worth an ask. You can call the freephone helpline on 0800 99 1234, or try the online calculator at www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator
So what are you waiting for? Don't miss out on the extra cash! Give it a go!
Finally if you're not quite at pensionable age yet but are starting to think about your pension, take a look at the site below. Info, retirement checklists, pension planning and other tools are available.