Time is running out for eligible older people to receive £300 from the Government’s 2023/24 cost of living support package, says Independent Age, the national older person’s charity.  

The cost of living payment announced last year is for households on many means-tested benefits, including Pension Credit, the income top-up for older people on a low income. Pension Credit is a form of financial support that ‘tops-up’ the income of people over the State Pension age who fall below a minimum income threshold. It can be worth on average, up to £3,500 per year. However, the latest data shows that up to 880,000 eligible people could be missing out on this potentially life-changing support.  

The Government has said that if eligible older people put in their application for Pension Credit by Sunday 10th December, they might be able to backdate it during their application by a maximum of three months to receive £300, the second of three 2023/24 cost of living payments. Applying for Pension Credit before this deadline will ensure applicants also get the next payment of £299 due in Spring 2024. To qualify for the winter cost of living payment of £300, applicants must receive a backdated award between 18th August 2023 and 17th September 2023. 

Even if a person only gets a few pennies extra per week in Guarantee Pension Credit, it can also unlock additional benefits such as the Warm Home Discount, a free TV licence (for people aged over 75), Council Tax Reduction, help to pay rent and free NHS dental treatment (full list of benefits below). Independent Age’s research has shown that these extra benefits can be worth up to £8,000 a year. 

Thabani Sitole, 74, London, explains how Pension Credit changed her life: 

“Before I started receiving Pension Credit, I was trying to pay the bills with just my State Pension and didn’t know how to make ends meet. When the letters from the bank, energy company and other creditors started coming through saying, ‘You have to pay this much by this month – or else’, I was so frightened. I thought I was going to lose the flat.  

“When I found out I was entitled to Pension Credit, my life changed. The extra money allowed us to keep a roof over our head. The cost of everything is going up and I am really worried about energy prices. But with Pension Credit, I am in a better position than before”.  

John Palmer, Director of Influencing and Engagement at Independent Age, said:

“If you are an older person that is struggling financially, do not suffer in silence, you might be entitled to Pension Credit. The deadline is fast approaching. Applicants will receive two more cost of living payments worth £600, additional weekly income top ups, and other helpful entitlements. Far too many people are missing out on this life-changing support.  

”If you think you could be eligible, visit the DWP website or call the Independent Age helpline on 0800 319 6789, and we can talk you through the application process, and especially how to backdate your claim by three months so you will receive the £300. You can also use our online benefits checker to find out more information. During this difficult period of high costs, we all need to ensure we receive all the support we’re entitled to.” 

- ENDS - 

 

Notes to editor 

Independent Age online benefits checker – https://www.independentage.org/benefits-calculator

Pension Credit additional benefits: 

  • A free TV license for over-75s, worth £159.00 per year (for colour tv). 

  • Free NHS dental treatment 

  • Voucher towards buying glasses/contact lenses - worth £39 - £215 (depending on the prescription). 

  • Reduction in Council Tax of up to 100%. 

  • Warm Home Discount, worth £150 from October. 

  • Cold Weather Payment - worth £25 a week in particularly cold winter weeks. 

  • Home insulation and boiler grants (worth thousands for some). 

  • Housing Benefit entitlement (possibly even free rent - depending on eligibility). 

  • Some companies offer additional reductions for those on Pension Credit, including: 

  • Reduced broadband and call charges. 

  • Reduced water bills. 

 For more information on Pension Credit, visit https://www.independentage.org/get-advice/money/benefitspension-credit 
 

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