Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

Pensioners risk losing out on discounts if they don’t claim Pension Credit

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Pensioners who don’t check to see whether they qualify for Pension Credit risk missing out on help with utilities and a host of other benefits, according to Royal London.

Last week saw the BBC announce it was scrapping free TV licences for up to 3.7m pensioners, with only households where one person receives Pension Credit still eligible for a free licence from 2020.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit aimed at people over the state pension age. It tops up a pensioner’s weekly income if it’s below £167.25 for a single person or £255.25 for a couple. According to the government, the average weekly amount of Pension Credit received by claimants is £58, which adds up to more than £3,000 a year.

Government figures show that more than 3 million households are eligible for pension credit, but four out of 10 fail to claim the benefit – in many cases because they don’t realise they’re entitled to it.

In addition to free TV licences, Pension Credit claimants can benefit from discounts on utility bills through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This is a one-off £140 annual discount paid automatically to the recipient’s electricity supplier between September and March each year.

Pension Credit claimants can also claim Cold Weather payments of £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Recipients also receive free NHS dental care and some claimants may also get their council tax paid in full.

Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, said: “Pension Credit is designed to help the very poorest of pensioners and yet figures show many are yet to claim it. This money could have a significant impact on these peoples’ standard of living and acts as a gateway to a host of other benefits. We would urge people to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.”