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850,000 people have just one day left to get £650 cost of living payment

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 11/08/2022 David Bentley
Check if you can get Pension Credit, which entitles you to the £650 cost of living payment along with a free TV licence and other discounts © Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Check if you can get Pension Credit, which entitles you to the £650 cost of living payment along with a free TV licence and other discounts

Around 850,000 people have just one day left to apply for a benefit that will qualify them for the £650 cost of living payment. The money is being sent out in two instalments, with the first part of £326 having already been received by 7.2 million households between July 14 and 31, and the second part due to arrive by the end of October.

Pension Credit is among the means-tested benefits to be eligible for this payment but many people are missing out on it. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions indicate that £1.7billion in Pension Credit is going unclaimed by about 850,000 people who are of State Pension age.

Crucially, a claim made now for Pension Credit can be backdated and then falls into the entitlement period for the £326 sum. Recipients would also get the £324 sum coming later and so end up with the entire payment of £650. But there is a deadline to bear in mind.

READ MORE: DWP details five cost of living payment packages giving families up to £4,200

People must be sure to put in their Pension Credit claim "no later than August 18", the DWP said. It can then be backdated to cover the April 26-May 25 qualifying period for the £326 handout.

DWP said: "Pensioners in receipt of Pension Credit will automatically be paid the Cost of Living Payments. In total, they could be entitled to an extra £650, paid in two instalments.

"To be eligible for the first Cost of Living Payment, a person must be entitled to a payment of Pension Credit on any day from April 26 to May 25, 2022. However, new claims for Pension Credit can be backdated for a maximum of three months provided the entitlement conditions are met throughout the three months.

"To guarantee that May 25 will be included in the first Pension Credit payment for pensioners wishing to backdate a new claim, we are advising that claims should be made as soon as possible and no later than August 18.

"We would like to ensure everyone who is eligible for Pension Credit, claims it as soon as possible so they do not miss out on the Cost of Living Payment. Pensioners, or friends or relatives on their behalf, can use this calculator to check if they qualify."

If you apply for Pension Credit after August 18, you will miss out on the £326 but should still be in line for the next instalment of £324 later this year.

What is Pension Credit and how much do you get?

Pension Credit is a Government benefit that gives you extra money to help with living costs if you're over State Pension age and on a low income. It's separate from your State Pension and you can get it even if you have other income, savings, or own your own home.

It has two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You may be able to get one or both depending on your circumstances. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if you have a low income, while Savings Credit is an extra payment if you have income such as personal/workplace pensions, savings or investments.

For 2022/2023, the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit tops up:

  • your weekly income to £182.60 - or around £9,500 a year - if you are single
  • your joint weekly income to £278.70 - or around £14,500 a year - if you have a partner

On average, people get more than £3,300 in Pension Credit a year, the DWP said. If your income is higher than the above amounts, you might still be eligible if you have a disability, you care for someone, or you have housing costs. These are the extra amounts.

  • If you have a severe disability, you could get an extra £69.40
  • If you care for another adult, you could get an extra £38.85 a week
  • If you are responsible for children or young people, you could get an extra £56.35 a week for each child or young person you're responsible for. This is increased to £66.85 a week for the first child if they were born before April 6, 2017.
  • If the child or young person is disabled, you could also get an extra amount of either £30.58 a week or £95.48
  • If you have housing costs such as ground rent or service charges, you could get an extra amount depending that those costs are
  • If you have savings or a second pension, you could get the Savings Credit part of Pension Credit, which is £14.48 a week if you're single and up to £16.20 a week if you have a partner.

What else does it entitle you to get?

Even if you only end up being entitled to a very small amount of Pension Credit, all the additional perks on offer are worth claiming it anyway. Other help you are entitled to when getting Pension Credit includes:

  1. Free TV licence for over-75s - a saving of £159 a year
  2. £650 cost of living payment - as mentioned above, Pension Credit is one of the low-income benefits to qualify for this Government payment coming in two amounts, a first instalment of £326 and a second sum of £324.
  3. Council Tax Reduction - your bill could be reduced by up to 100 per cent, potentially worth up to £2,000 a year; each local authority runs its own scheme so check with your council
  4. Cold Weather Payments - £25 for each seven-day period of freezing weather between November and March
  5. Warm Homes Discount - a one-off £150 rebate on your electricity bill between October and April
  6. Christmas bonus - those on the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit qualify for the £10 annual bonus
  7. Free NHS dental treatment, prescription, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments - find out more here
  8. Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in - potentially worth thousands a year
  9. Support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in

How to apply for Pension Credit

You can start an application for Pension Credit up to four months before you reach State Pension age. You can apply any time after you reach that age and your application can be backdated by three months.

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 three months ago or the date you reached State Pension age)

You’ll also need your bank account details. Apply online for Pension Credit at the GOV.UK page here, or via the following Pension Credit claim line phone numbers:

Telephone: 0800 99 1234

Textphone: 0800 169 0133

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 99 1234

British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet

The lines are open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm.

You can also apply by filling in a form that's available here.

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