Residents urged to check eligibility for Pension Credit
March 7, 2019
Northumberland County Council are encouraging residents of retirement age to check their eligibility for Pension Credit before major changes come into place on 15 May 2019.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that ensures claimants are receiving the minimum amount of pension they should be.
National figures found that in 2016/17 up to 1.3 million families who were entitled to receive Pension Credit did not claim the benefit, meaning up to £3.5 billion went unclaimed.
Currently, once one member of a couple reaches State Pension Age that couple can claim Pension Credit. Government changes that come into effect from 15 May will mean both members of a couple will need to have reached State Pension Age to be able to claim Pension Credit. This could mean mixed age couples could potentially lose out on around £7,000 per year.
Mixed age couples already receiving Pension Credit will be unaffected by the change, therefore any couples who are entitled to the benefit but are not yet claiming need to make their claim before 15 May.
Cllr Veronica Jones, cabinet member for Adult Wellbeing and Health, said: “It’s astonishing that so many residents in Northumberland could be missing out on benefits they are entitled to. For some households this could be an additional £2,500 a year, or and extra £50 a week.
“We’re working with the Department for Work and Pensions to encourage residents to check if they are eligible for Pension Credit. It’s thought that some residents might be deterred by the fear of benefit fraud, but I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible to get in touch with the council to double check. Our customer services are always more than happy to help any of our residents.”
In order to be eligible for this benefit, a single person must receive less than £163 per week, or £248.80 per week for couples. For more information on eligibility and how to claim, please visit the Department for Work & Pensions: www.gov.uk/pension-credit or visit your local Customer Information Centre.