TIME is running out for grandparents to get a cost of living payment worth £324.
Around 1.4million hard-up pensioners currently get pension credit, but hundreds of thousands are still missing out by not claiming.
It comes as the second part of the government’s £650 cost of living payment started going out last month.
To get the second payment, you will need to have been in receipt of any one of the eligible benefits, including pension credit, for any day in the period from August 26 to September 25, 2022.
It doesn’t matter if pensioners have only discovered that they might be eligible for pension credit, as there’s still time to make a claim.
Pension credit claims can be backdated by three months, which means you can still be eligible for the £324 in free cash.
The last date for applying in order to qualify for the payment is Sunday, December 18 – just 10 days away.
Pension credit is designed to boost your income if you’re over the state pension age and on a low income.
The average benefit is worth more than £3,500 a year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
On top of the current cost of living payment, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced an extra £900 for pension credit claimants next year in the Autumn Statement.
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The benefit also makes you eligible for other support such as the Warm Home Discount scheme worth £150 a year and help with council tax, just to mention a few things.
Minister for pensions, Laura Trott, said: “The run up to Christmas is always a busy time, but one thing to make sure that’s on your list over the coming days is to find out whether you or your loved ones could be eligible for Pension Credit.
“Pension Credit can make a real difference and I am determined to make sure this support – worth an average of £3,500 per year – is reaching everyone who needs it.”
How much can you get in pension credit?
There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £182.60 a week if you’re single and £278.70 a week for married couples.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you’ve saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £14.48 a week for a single person or £16.20 a week for a married couple.
You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.
For instance, you can get either £56.35 a week or £66.85 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for.
If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.
For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £69.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £38.85 a week.
Who is eligible?
It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.
This is currently 66 for both men and women, but is expected to rise to 67 by 2028, meaning plenty of grandparents are likely eligible.
It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.
This means if you’re single and move in with a partner who is younger than the state pension age, you will stop being eligible.
But if you’re already receiving pension credit under the old system it won’t stop unless your circumstances change.
To qualify, you’ll need to have a weekly income of less than £182.60 for single people or £278.70 for couples.
Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:
- Your state pension
- Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
- Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
- Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
- Earnings from a job
The calculation does not include:
- Attendance allowance
- Christmas bonus
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Housing benefit
- Council tax reduction
If your income is too high to get pension credit, you may still get some savings pension credit, so it’s worth checking.
How do I apply?
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.
Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website, by printing out and filling in a paper application form or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you’ll need to be with them when they do.
You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:
- National Insurance number
- Information about any income, savings and investments you have
- Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually 3 months ago or the date you reached State Pension age)
If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.
How will I be paid?
Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.
They’re usually paid every four weeks.
You’ll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.
But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.