Widow, 72, boosts income by £158 per week – eligibility check may take ‘only minutes’

Martin Lewis provides clarification on pension credit payments

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Many pensioners believe they are unable to claim Pension Credit, a benefit designed to help low income pensioners, because they have savings or own their home. However, this is not necessarily the case, and many could be entitled to a worthwhile top up. 

Age UK shared the story of a woman aged 72, who was able to benefit from the Pension Credit system.

Referred to as Mrs W, the woman was recently struggling with the loss of her husband and living alone.

It meant she was forced to get by on £104 per week, which left her struggling, particularly as her rent alone was £107.

Mrs W’s small savings she had put aside were rapidly dwindling given rising living costs, and the pensioner was becoming worried.

Her concern was only exacerbated by the fact she had a heart condition – and the stress was not good for her health.

However, after contacting her local Age UK, Mrs W received guidance on support she could receive.

Previously, she had been very wary of the benefits system, confused by the process and convinced her small savings would mean she would not be eligible for support.

With the help of the charity, Mrs W found out she would be eligible for Pension Credit – as well as full help with her rent and council tax.

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Age UK shared she was awarded Pension Credit of £36 per week with total support for her rent and council tax.

All in all, it meant she was £158 better off each week.

Mrs W said: “You were so easy to understand. I wouldn’t have been able to do it all if you had not been there to help.”

The widow was also provided with details about Attendance Allowance – another payment designed to help older people, this time, those with a health condition or disability. 

As a result of her Pension Credit claim, Mrs W was able to look after her health and focus on grieving for her husband.

Pension Credit could provide significant levels of support, both financially and otherwise.

While the payment provides monetary assistance, it also helps Britons with other aspects of their lives as Mrs W’s case shows.

It is described as a “gateway benefit” frequently as it entitles claimants to other help.

This can include free TV licences for over 75s, help with health and housing costs, and support for NHS costs.

Statistics from the DWP show Pension Credit can be worth an average of £3,300 per year.

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It could make a huge difference to a person’s day to day life, and people have been urged to check their eligibility. 

The Government website has established the Pension Credit calculator for this very purpose to help older people.

Here, they can find out if they are eligible for Pension Credit and how much they could get.

The calculator takes “only minutes” to complete, and could be the key to securing extra income. 

To use the service, Britons will need:

  • Details of earnings, benefits and pension
  • Details of savings and investments.

Others may wish to call the Pension Service or Pension Credit claim line to find out more. 

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