HUNDREDS of thousands of Brits could miss out on a £599 cost of living payment if they don't act soon.
Over 1.4million pensioners receive pension credit which makes them eligible for the £300 cost of living payment.
But there are 850,000 more pensioners eligible for the benefit who aren't claiming it.
This means that they risk missing out on the next two cost of living payments worth £300 in the autumn and £299 in the spring of 2024.
To get the first payment, you will need to have been in receipt of at least one of seven benefits, including pension credit, between August 18 and September 17 to be eligible for the free cash.
It doesn't matter if you were only eligible for a day – as long as this day was within the qualifying period you'll get the cost of living payment.
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The same rule applies to fresh pension credit claims which can be backdated by up to three months.
This means that thousands more people could become eligible for the cash by applying for the benefit now.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told The Sun that households eligible but not claiming pension credit should put in a claim by December 10.
This will ensure that any payments can be backdated and fall within the qualifying period for the £300 cost of living payment.
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If you put in your claim any later than this – the DWP may be unable to process your claim in time.
And if you miss the deadline your claim won't be backdated all the way back to the qualifying period, so you'll miss out on the cash.
Details of the £299 cost of living payment due in the spring of 2024 will be announced at a later date.
Who is eligible for pension credit?
It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.
This is currently rising to 66 for both men and women.
It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.
This means if you're single and move in with a partner who is younger than the state pension age, you will stop being eligible.
But if you're already receiving pension credit under the old system it won't stop unless your circumstances change.
To qualify, you'll need to have a weekly income of less than £201.05 for single people or £306.85 for couples.
Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:
- Your state pension
- Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
- Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
- Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
- Earnings from a job
The calculation does not include:
- Attendance allowance
- Christmas bonus
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Housing benefit
- Council tax reduction
If your income is too high to get pension credit, you may still get some savings pension credit, so it's worth checking.
How much can you get in pension credit?
There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts – here are the current rates for the tax year:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £201.05 a week if you're single and £306.85 a week for married couples.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you've saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £15.94 a week for a single person or £17.84 a week for a married couple.
You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.
For instance, you can get either £61.88 a week or £72.31 per week for each child or young person you're responsible for.
If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.
For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £76.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £42.75 a week.
How do I apply?
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.
Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you'll need to be with them when they do.
You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:
- National Insurance number
- Information about any income, savings and investments you have
- Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually 3 months ago or the date you reached state pension age)
If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.
How will I be paid?
Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.
They're usually paid every four weeks.
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You’ll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.
But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.
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