PENSIONERS have only one day left to become eligible for winter bill support worth hundreds.
If you were to launch a successful claim for one benefit now, you'll secure £326 to help with the cost of living.
Those on pension credit are set to receive a further £324 in winter bill support in the Autumn.
The free cash forms part of the £650 cost of living payment.
The cash payment was first announced by the former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak in May.
The first instalment is worth £326 and was due in July and the second chunk worth £324 is due in Autumn.
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To get the first payment, you needed to have been in receipt of any of these eligible benefit payments – including pension credit between April 26 and May 25 this year.
The £326 cash started eligible back in April. The payment was automatic and customers didn't have to act to receive the cash.
However, you could still claim certain benefits after this date and later be successful.
And pensioners who haven't yet submitted a claim for pension credit should do so now to secure the £650 cost of living payment.
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said that all applications must be in by August 18 to ensure applicants can backdate and successfully secure the first chunk of the cost of living payment.
Why should I launch a claim for pension credit now?
We spoke to Sarah Pennells, consumer finance specialist at Royal London who explained why and how people should get the cash.
Sarah said: "One in three people who are entitled to receive it, don’t currently claim it.
"These individuals are missing out on an estimated £1.7 billion of benefits.
Pension credit tops up the income of people who aren’t entitled to the full State Pension, but it’s also a "gateway" benefit according to Sarah – meaning it unlocks additional benefits.
These include help with rent and Council Tax, the £150 Warm Home Discount and the £650 cost of living payment.
In total, pension credit can be worth over £3,300 a year, which could make a huge difference to someone’s finances.
Sarah said: "With energy bills due to rise sharply for millions of pensioners on October 1, it’s more important than ever that people who have reached State Pension age, and think they may qualify, apply for Pension Credit."
Turn2us and Independent Age are also urging those who may think they're eligible to urgently apply for pension credit.
Anna Stevenson, senior welfare and benefits specialist at Turn2us said: "We urge people to check today to see what additional support they might be able to claim."
Morgan Vine, head of policy and influencing at Independent Age said: "We urge older people to use online calculators, like the ones provided by Independent Age and Turn2us, or call one of our helplines to check their eligibility."
If you do apply by Thursday August 18 and you are successful – your application can be backdated by three months.
This will ensure that you were eligible for the £650 during the qualifying period back in May.
You’ll then be down to receive the first cost of living payment worth £326, which the government has already started paying to existing claimants.”
You can check your eligibility for pension credit using the government’s calculator.
What is pension credit?
Pension credit is offered in two parts – guarantee credit and savings credit. You may be eligible to both.
Guarantee credit is a top-up to your weekly income and savings credit is an extra boost if you've got savings or a higher income.
Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to £182.60 if you’re a single pensioner and £278.70 if you have a partner.
When's the cut off to get the £650 cost of living payment?
You'll need to put in your claim to the DWP by the 18 August to ensure that your claim can be backdated to include at least a day in the original qualifying period (April 26 to May 25).
If you put in your claim any later than this – the DWP may be unable to process your claim in time.
If you miss the deadline your claim won't be backdated all the way back to the qualifying period for the £650 and you'll miss out on the payment.
How do I apply for pension credit?
To claim pension credit, you can either:
- Claim online
- Call the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234
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Before you make a claim it's important to have all your details to hand.
You'll need your National Insurance number, bank account details and information about your income, savings and investments.
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