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Pensioners warned deadline looms to claim cost of living support

Pensioners on low incomes are being urged to claim for pension credit before 18 December to avoid missing on a government cost of living lump sum payment worth hundreds of pounds.

To qualify for the government’s second support payment, worth £324, pensioners must have been entitled to pension credit between 26 August and 25 September this year.

Pension credit can be backdated for three months which means eligible older people who start their application by Sunday 18 December can receive the additional payment of £324.

Pension Credit tops up the weekly income of a single pensioner to £182.60 or a pensioner couple to £278.70.

It is separate from the state pension and comes in two parts: guarantee credit and savings credit. If a claim for pension credit is successful it can be backdated up to three months.

The government’s cost of living payment was announced as part of its original energy support package in May.

A payment of £650 was offered to households on means tested benefits such as pension credit or universal credit. It was paid in two instalments, first in July and then in November. Those who make a successful claim for pension credit before 18 December can still claim the November payment.

Pension credit not only qualifies older people for the government’s cost of living payment, it opens doors to a wide range of additional support including extra help with energy bills and other essential costs.

These include a one-off payment of £150 through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, help with council tax and rent and free NHS dental treatment and help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital.

A cold weather payment of £25, paid automatically when the average temperature is 0°C or below over seven consecutive days

Unclaimed benefit worth £1,900 a year per household

Despite the additional benefits attached to pension credit, 770,000 eligible pensioner households are not receiving the payment according to government figures.

The unclaimed benefit is worth an average of £1,900 a year per household.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Many older people are still extremely worried about staying warm and well over the coming months. However, there is a lot of extra support available to help those on the lowest incomes this winter and it’s not too late to claim it.

“We’re urging anyone who’s finding it hard to pay for the basics such as food and energy to get in touch for a benefits check.

“A successful claim worth an average of £1,900 a year per household in addition to the cost of living payment could be life-changing, giving people the confidence to eat well and keep their heating on over the coming months.”

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