Martin Lewis says more than a MILLION senior citizens are failing to claim up to £3,000-a-year in pension credits as he urges them to apply before free TV licences are axed
- Money expert said a million families failing to claim up to £3k of pension credits
- London-based Martin Lewis warned British retirees to apply for the scheme now
- He suggests applying before free TV licences for over-75s are axed next month
One million of the UK’s poorest families are failing to claim up to £3,000-a-year of pension credits, Martin Lewis has warned.
The London-based Money Saving Expert, 48, urged eligible British retirees to apply for the scheme before free TV licences for over-75s are axed next month – as it may be too late to qualify afterwards.
Writing in this week’s MoneySavingExpert email, he explained that pensioners are entitled to the government top-up if they live in the UK and earn less than £173.75-a-week as a single person, or £265.20 as a couple, including pensions, savings and work.
Those who qualify can gain thousands of pounds worth of additional savings, including a free TV license, which from August 1 will only be given to those who receive pension credits.
The potential savings could include £1,000-a-year council tax, £1,300-a-year gas bills, £140 warm home discount, £215 opticians vouchers and even free dental care.
One million of the UK’s poorest families are failing to claim up to £3,000-worth of pension credits, Martin Lewis (pictured) has warned
Martin wrote: ‘From 1 August, free TV licences for over-75s will only be available to households where someone gets pension credit – just being eligible isn’t enough.
‘But despite us nagging for years, one million plus of the UK’s poorest families fail to claim the benefit due to a lack of information, or perhaps pride.
‘Yet it can be worth £1,000s in its own right, plus it opens a gateway to free TV licences and much more.’
The London-based Money Saving Expert, 48, urged eligible British retirees to apply for the scheme before free TV licences for over-75s are axed next month. Pictured inset: A pensioner counts out some money
The consumer expert then went on to list the benefits available with pension credits, including a council tax reduction typically worth a £1,000 a year, £25-a-week off their gas bills, free dental care and a £140 warm home discount to cover their winter bills.
What you could save
- £1,000-a-year council tax
- £1,300-a-year gas bills
- £140 warm home discount
- £215 opticians vouchers
- Free dental care
Those who wear glasses may also qualify for vouchers worth up to £215 depending on their prescription as well as housing benefit to help cover rent payments.
The scheme, which is run by the Department for Work and Pensions, is not automatic, with pensioners having to apply and be assessed first.
A separate savings credit element is available to people who reached retirement age before April 2016. There isn’t a limit on how much pensioners have in savings, but if they have over £10,000 they will receive less money.
To claim pension credit, retirees need to call the claim line on 0800 99 1234, and staff will fill in the form for them.
This month it was announced that over-75s must start buying the £157.50 annual TV licence, but they are being told to wait for a letter before doing anything – while the poorest pensioners will still get them for free.
The BBC postponed axing the perk due to the coronavirus outbreak, after the Government withdrew funding for it in June, but the extension ends on 1 August.
Do you qualify for pension credit and how do you apply?
Pension credit is a benefit that tops up the weekly income of the poorest elderly people in the country. It comes in two parts – guarantee credit and savings credit.
Guarantee credit pushes up your income to £173.75 if you are single or £265.20 if you are a couple.
You may be eligible if you have reached state pension age and your income is less than these amounts, even if you own your own home.
A separate savings credit element is available to people who reached retirement age before April 2016. There isn’t a limit on how much you have in savings, but if you have over £10,000 you will receive less money.
To claim pension credit, you need to call the claim line on 0800 99 1234, and staff will fill in the form for you. You should have the following to hand.
- National Insurance number
- Bank account details
- Information about your income, savings and investments
- Information about your pension if you have one
- Details of any housing costs, like mortgage, interest payments and service charges
- Partner’s details if you have one