About 850,000 households are believed to be missing out on vital Pension Credit support, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is hitting people on low or fixed incomes particularly hard.
While more than 1.4 million pensioners are receiving Pension Credit, many are not claiming this extra financial help that can also be a gateway to other benefits. An estimated £1.7 billion in the benefit is being left unclaimed, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which was holding its second annual Pension Credit "day of action" as part of an awareness-raising drive.
The DWP said it will be providing leaflets for local communities, while businesses can also spread the word to their customers. State pension recipients will continue to receive reminders about Pension Credit in the post.
But what actually is Pension Credit – and who’s eligible? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is designed to help with daily living costs for people over state pension age and on a low income. It tops up a person's income to a minimum of £182.60 per week for single pensioners and to £278.70 for couples.
It can be claimed by phone and online. An online Pension Credit calculator can help pensioners check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive. People can go to gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234 for more information.
The campaign reminds people that even a small award can provide access to a wide range of other benefits - such as help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills. For those over 75, this includes continued entitlement to a free TV licence.
Who is eligible for Pension Credit?
To qualify for Pension Credit, you must live in England, Scotland, or Wales and have reached State Pension age. You can check your state pension age using the Government calculator.
If you have a partner, you may still be eligible if either you and your partner have both reached State Pension age, or one of you is getting Housing Benefit for people over State Pension age. You can find out more about what factors may affect your income eligibility here.
Martin Lewis offers advice on Pension Credit
“Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, it's a national tragedy that getting on for a million pensioners are missing out on a major income boost,” said Martin Lewis, founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com. "My simple rule of thumb is if you (or someone you know) are aged 66 or older, and have total income of under roughly £200 a week, get online or call the Pension Credit claim line to see if you're due a payment that can be as much as £3,300 a year.
"I'm not saying everyone will get it, but many will, and it only takes a few minutes to find out. So don't stall, just call. And not only is this serious money, it's also often a gateway entitlement that means you're due a range of other support, such as council tax reductions, the £650 extra energy funding help, warm home discount, housing benefit, dental and optical treatments and, for the over-75s, a free TV licence."
Additional reporting by PA.