News Age NI Urges Pensioners on Low Incomes to Put in a Claim for Pension Credit Without Delay Older people on a low income have until Friday 19th May to put in a claim for Pension Credit in order to qualify for the first of three cost-of-living payments to be issued this year. Announced as part of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, this year’s targeted Cost of Living Payment will only be paid to older people in receipt of Pension Credit (and other qualifying benefits). That’s why Age NI, along with its partner Age UK is stepping up its call for people to put in a claim for this essential benefit. Pension Credit tops up the weekly income of a single pensioner to £201.05 or a pensioner couple to £306.85 (or more in some circumstances). It is entirely separate from the State Pension and comes in two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Because an application for Pension Credit can be backdated by three months, those who begin the claiming process by Friday 19th May and successfully meet the eligibility criteria, will receive the first £301 cost-of-living payment too. Despite its considerable financial benefit, a third (34 per cent) of pensioners eligible to claim Pension Credit are still missing out – a huge concern, especially as the cost of living continues to rise. The Government’s own figures show that 770,000 eligible pensioner households (single people or couples) across the UK are not receiving their Pension Credit payments, worth around £1.5 billion every year – an average of £1,900 a year, per household. As well providing a much-needed income boost and automatically qualifying them for the Government’s second year of Cost-of-Living Payments, Pension Credit also opens the door to a wide range of additional support including extra help with energy bills and other essential costs: A Cold Weather Payment of £25, paid automatically when the average temperature is 0°C or below over seven consecutive days Help rent and rates Free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital A free TV licence (if over-75) An extra amount of Pension Credit for some carers worth up to £42.75 a week Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “The Government’s cost-of-living support is higher this year – worth up to £900 - so it’s never been more important for older people to see whether they can claim Pension Credit. “What many people don’t realise is that Pension Credit can be backdated by three months, so putting in a successful claim now will entitle you to the first £301 cost-of-living payment, as well as opening the door to some valuable extra help with your energy and other bills. “We know that so many pensioner households are still missing out on Pension Credit, and with prices continuing to rise it’s likely they are all struggling to make ends meet. Every single household bill has risen since April, so we’re urging anyone who’s finding it hard to manage financially to get in touch for a benefits check. A successful Pension Credit claim – worth an average of £1,900 a year per household in addition to the cost-of-living payments – could be life-changing, giving people the confidence to buy the groceries they need, without skimping for fear of running out of money.” The Charity is urging any older person living on a low income or struggling with their bills to contact Age NI’s free Advice line on 0808 808 7575 to check they’re receiving all the financial support available. Alternatively people can visit www.ageni.org/moremoney. Age NI hosts a free and anonymous Benefits Calculator which can provide an estimate of the benefits that people could be entitled to.