Time is running out for eligible older people to receive £324 from the Government’s May cost of living support package, says Independent Age, the national older person’s charity.
The cost of living payment announced earlier this year in May is for households on many means-tested benefits including Pension Credit, the income top-up for people on a low income.
The Government has said that if eligible older people put in their application for Pension Credit by Sunday 18th December, they will be able to backdate it during their application by the maximum three months to receive £324, the second half of the total £650 cost of living payment offered.
Pension Credit is a form of financial support that ‘tops-up’ the income of people over the State Pension age who fall below an income threshold. It can be worth up to £3,300 per year or over £60 a week. However, an estimated 850,000 eligible households could be missing out.
As a ‘passported benefit’, even if a person only gets a few pennies extra per week, it also unlocks additional benefits such as the Warm Home Discount, a free TV licence, Council Tax Reduction 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.
John Palmer, Director of Policy and Communications at Independent Age said: “We’re urging all older people to check now whether they could receive Pension Credit. Time is running out. Not only could they receive an extra £324 to help with the cost of living, but they will gain an additional weekly income and unlock a host of other entitlements.
”If you think you could be eligible visit the DWP website or call the Independent Age helpline on 0800 319 6789and we can talk you through the application process, and especially how to backdate your claim by three months so you will receive the £324. You can also use our online benefits checker to find out more information.
“Even after the deadline to backdate the claim, all older people should check if they are eligible for Pension Credit. The support you could be entitled to is sitting in a pot, with up to £1.7 billion a year not being received. During this tough winter, we all need to make sure we’re receiving all the support we’re entitled to.”
As part of the Autumn Statement, the Government recently announced an additional £900 cost of living payment for those on means-tested benefits including Pension Credit that will be available in 2023/24. The DWP hasn’t yet confirmed the timing of the payment and eligibility dates but older people are recommended to check if they could be entitled to Pension Credit to maximise the chances of being eligible for the new cost of living support.
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Notes to editor
Independent Age online benefits checker –https://www.independentage.org/information/money/benefits/benefit-checker
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 £140 and rising to £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