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If you are over the age of 66, do you like the sound of being able to boost your income by an estimated £1,700 a year? Experts say that an estimated three million people could see their bank balances boosted simply by claiming all that they are entitled to. As much as five billion in pension top ups goes unclaimed, often simply because older people are too ‘proud’ to get the help on offer. Other pensioners told researchers that they found the process to be too complicated or personal, whereas some people just did not know they were entitled to the money.
However, the research found that claiming a package of pension credit, council tax discounts and housing benefit could line their pockets with an extra £1,716 per year. Yesterday, a pension specialist urged those close to retirement or already retired to make sure that they get what they are entitled to. She said that the current pensioners built Britain up to what it is today, so they should not have to scrape by. She said that women especially have very small incomes.
A new report which was commissioned by Age UK and found that one in 10 pensioners would not be able to pay a £200 bill if they were hit with it unexpectedly. Statistics showed that one in four over 65s feel financially worse off than they did last year, with a third worried about the cost of living in general. A spokesperson for the charity said that Age UK helps people every day claim what they are entitled to.
The basic state pension is £113.10 a week for a single person. However, if the person’s total income is below £148, they could get a top up as part of Guarantee Credit from the Pension Credit scheme. Those who have saved towards their pension can get Savings Credit. Even if the person’s income is not boosted a lot by this credit, it opens the door to other benefits such as Council Tax reductions and housing benefit. They are also eligible for free NHS prescriptions and eye tests, as well as getting Cold Weather payments after a spell of bad weather.