Current data from the Office for National Statistics highlights that in 2021, about 3.3 million individuals aged 65 and above lived alone in England and Wales, with approximately 337,000 single pensioner households based in Scotland. Amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis, maintaining such households can be daunting, and so it’s vital for our elderly population in Glasgow and beyond to ensure all entitled financial support forms are claimed.

The most under-claimed benefit tailored specifically to offer supplementary financial support for older low-income people, including singles and couples, is Pension Credit. Presently, Pension Credit is claimed by almost 1.4 million older residents across Great Britain, including over 126,800 based in Scotland, offering an additional near-£4,000 support over the next year.

Nevertheless, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) latest figures indicate that approximately 880,000 pensioners who qualify for this entitlement are still not claiming it.

Fastest Method to Check Pension Credit Eligibility

Elderly individuals, their friends or family, can conveniently verify their eligibility and get estimates via the internet-based Pension Credit calculator provided by GOV.UK here.

Pensioners can also reach out to the Pension Credit helpline on 0800 99 1234 from 8 am to 6 pm, from Monday to Friday, to make a claim directly.

Here’s an overview of the benefit, including points such as eligibility criteria, application procedure, and potential benefits.

Pension Credit Explained

Pension Credit provides additional financial assistance for living costs for those above the State Pension-age and on a low income. The benefit also potentially provides access to other benefits.

The present benefit increases income to at least £201.05 per week for single pensioners and £306.85 for couples, with potentially more for disabled individuals or those with caring responsibilities.

Starting from April 8, payments will rise to £218.15 per week for singles and £332.95 for couples.

Who Should Apply for Pension Credit?

Pension Credit may be right for you if you are over 65, have been eligible for your State Pension starting before April 6, 2016, and your weekly income is less than:

  • £240.90 if you are single
  • £351.45 if you are part of a couple

Extra Assistance with Pension Credit

You may be entitled to additional assistance, such as:

  • Housing Benefit if renting your property
  • Support for Mortgage Interest for homeowners
  • Council Tax Discounts
  • Free TV licence if aged over 75
  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses, and hospital appointment-related transport costs
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme benefits
  • Royal Mail redirection service discounts when moving

Pension Credit for Mixed-Age Older Couples

In May 2019, UK law changed treating ‘mixed age couples’ – where one partner is at State Pension age and the other isn’t – as ‘working age’ couples when verifying means-tested benefits eligibility. Since this amendment, mixed age couples can only claim Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit when both partners reach the State Pension age.

Pension Credit Calculator Usage

To utilise the calculator on GOV.UK, you need:

  • Earnings, pensions, and benefits
  • Investments and savings

A series of multiple-choice questions will help gauge eligibility, including:

  • Birth Date
  • Residential status
  • UK residence
  • Blind registration status
  • Current benefit statuses
  • Common benefit amounts
  • Any carer allowances
  • State Pension, private and work pension amounts
  • Earnings from jobs
  • All related savings, bonds, or investments

Finally, proceed to the application page to get the exact benefit amount from DWP, including access to additional financial support. Use the Pension Credit Calculator now to ensure every entitled financial benefit is received.

An older woman is looking at paperwork seated at a desk.
Filing a successful new claim for Pension Credit can help with heating bills, housing costs and Council Tax.
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Exceptions for the Pension Credit calculator

The calculator may not accurately estimate benefits if you or your partner:

  • Are deferring State Pension
  • Own more than a single property
  • Are self-employed
  • Have housing costs not covered by Housing Benefit or aren’t mortgage repayments

Making a Claim

Claims start up four months before reaching State Pension age. Although you can claim any time after reaching State Pension age, claims are backdated only up to three months.

You’ll need:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your income, savings, and investments
  • Your bank account details if applying by post or phone

Submitting an Online Application

You’re eligible for online applications if:

  • you’ve already claimed your State Pension
  • no children or young people are included in your claim

Phone the Pension Credit helpline at 0800 99 1234 or check the GOV.UK Pension Credit calculator here to determine your potential benefit.

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