THOUSANDS of pensioners are missing out on a £1,900 a year retirement fund top-up.
The latest figures show that a total of £1.7billion of pension credit goes unclaimed.
Between April 2019 and April 2020, 850,000 eligible families did not claim the benefit, meaning they missed out on around £1,900 extra a year.
Pension credit gives you extra cash if you're of state pension age and on a low income, and it also unlocks many other benefits.
But a third of those eligible are not claiming the retirement fund top up, the latest Department for Work and Pensions figures showed.
Steven Lowe, communications director at retirement firm Just Group, said: "The human story to this is the hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to make ends meet who may not realise financial help is available or do not know how to navigate the system."
He added: "As the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite, and with pensioners heavily impacted by rocketing energy bills, it is more important than ever that people who may be struggling for income are aware of the benefits available to them and how they can claim."
It is important to claim the credit as it can help you access additional financial support as well as extra cash.
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If you're eligible for pension credit you'll also be able to get other benefits such as a free TV licence for over-75s.
MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said last month that pension credit is a "gateway benefit" for extra support.
He said: "It's really important to trigger getting this."
How can I apply for pension credit?
To qualify, either you (or your partner if you live with one) must have reached State Pension Age, which is currently set at 66.
You also need to live in England, Scotland or Wales
Your household income will be calculated when you apply, and if you fall short of the thresholds you will be awarded a top-up amount.
Your income includes:
- State Pension
- other pensions
- earnings from employment and self-employment
- most social security benefits, for example Carer’s Allowance
If you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments this will not affect your Pension Credit.
If you have more than £10,000, every £500 over £10,000 counts as £1 worth of weekly income.
You can start your application up to four months before you reach State Pension age.
You can apply any time after you reach State Pension age but your application can only be backdated by three months.
You can use the online service if:
- you have already applied for your State Pension
- there are no children or young people included in your application
You can apply online using the government service.
Alternatively, you can apply by phone on the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
To apply by post, print out and fill in the Pension Credit claim form or call the claim line to request one.
How much will I get?
According to the government figures, there were 850,000 families who were entitled to receive pension credit but did not make a claim.
In total, there was £1.7billion of unclaimed pension credit, amounting to around £1,900 for each eligible household missing out.
However how much you get will depend on your specific circumstances.
The maximum basic allowance is currently £177.10 for single people and £270.30 for couples.
From April, this will rise to £182.60 and £278.70 respectively.
You could get extra if you're disabled, a carer or have additional housing costs.
For example, iIf you have a severe disability, you can get up to £67.30 a week on top of your standard allowance.
From April next year, this will rise to £69.40 – an increase of just £2.10 a week.
If you're in a couple and you're both severely disabled, the top up rises from £134.60 to £138.80.
Carers can also get a top up which is worth £37.70 a week currently, and will rise to £38.85 next year – just £1.15 a week more.
If you have caring responsibilities for young children you also get extra help.
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