Martin Lewis warns nearly a million people are missing out on an extra £3,300 a year

Martin Lewis has joined a ‘call to action’ on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pension credit – we explain how the benefit works and who is eligible

Martin Lewis explained how to claim a pension credit

Martin Lewis has urged thousands of pensioners to check if they qualify for pension credit – and says it only takes five minutes to check.

Pension credit is a benefit that exceeds your income if you are over retirement age.

It is also known as the ‘gateway’ benefit as it unlocks council tax support, housing benefit, healthcare cost support and a free TV license for over 75s.

Factoring in these additional discounts or reductions means the pension credit can be worth up to £3,300 a year.

Latest government figures suggest 850,000 people are missing out on this important pension benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today (June 15) announced a ‘day of action’ to try to encourage people to check their eligibility for pension credit.

“It’s not often that I agree to team up with the government on a campaign, but I was happy to offer my help on this one,” Martin explained in the latest MoneySavingExpert newsletter.

“It is a national tragedy to live for a million pensioners, many of whom have been paying into the system for years, to miss out on a major increase in income.”

Here, we explain how the Pension Credit works…

What is Pension Credit?

The pension credit consists of two parts. You may be entitled to one or both, depending on your situation.

The Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit supplements your weekly income for:

  • £182.60 if you are single
  • £278.70 if you have a partner

If you reached statutory retirement age before 6 April 2016, you may be eligible for the savings credit element of the pension credit.

You could go up to:

  • £14.48 if you are single
  • £16.20 if you are a couple

You can get extra money if you have other responsibilities and expenses, such as high rent, a disability, or caring for someone.

For example, you could get an extra £69.40 a week if you claim certain invalidity benefits or an extra £38.85 a week if you get Carer’s Allowance.

If you are responsible for children or young people, you could receive an additional £56.35 per week for each person in your care.

This amount is increased to £66.85 per week for the first child if born before 6 April 2017.

If the child or young person is disabled, you can also get an additional £30.58 to £95.48 per week if they are on certain benefits.

You can view all additional top-ups and their prices on the website.

Other help if you have a pension credit

If you get a pension credit, you can also get other help, such as:

  • Housing allowance if you rent the property in which you live
  • Mortgage interest coverage if you own the property you live in
  • A reduction in the housing tax
  • A free TV license if you are 75 or older
  • Help with NHS dental care, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
  • Help with your heating costs with the Warm Home rebate program
  • A discount on the Royal Mail redirect service if you move house

How to make a claim

You can check your eligibility online using the Pension Credit Calculator on the website.

Or if you prefer to speak to someone on the phone, call the Pension Service Helpline on 0800 99 1234 in England, Wales or Scotland.

For Northern Ireland, call the Pension Center on 0808 100 6165.

You can submit your application up to four months before reaching the legal retirement age.

If you have already reached the legal retirement age, your application can be backdated by three months.

When applying, you will need:

  • Your national insurance number

  • Information about your income, savings and investments

  • Your bank details, if you apply by phone or by mail

If you are backdating your application, you will need details of your income, savings and investments as of the date you want your application to start.

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