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Pension Credit - An Under-Utilised Benefit

Pension Credit offers a lifeline to many retirees, yet there are still plenty of pensioners who don't take advantage of it because they think they won't be eligible; usually due to having a small amount of savings or because they already draw a modest pension. With increased cost of living, especially for basic needs such as heating, thousands of UK pensioners suffer hardships similar to those in some disadvantaged countries.
Understanding Pension Credit
Pension Credit is designed to provide a little extra income so you can enjoy retirement. It's income-related and is split into two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You could be eligible for one or both parts.
Guarantee Credit
Guarantee Credit bridges the gap between your current weekly income, and the minimum weekly amount awarded for the State Pension. So if you have less money than someone you know who receives a State Pension, you could missing out.
How much?
If you're a single applicant, you can receive a Guarantee Credit payment worth up to £159.35, or £243.25 for couples.
Guarantee Credit eligibility criteria
As people live longer, the eligible age for claiming Guarantee Credit is also increasing. If you were born before the 3rd July 1953, then you already qualify. If you were born between the 5th July and 5th October 1953, you'll be eligible no later than the 6th March 2018.
What else?
Other advantages of claiming Pension Credit include eligibility for a £25 Cold Weather payment, free dental treatment, no Council Tax and, if you rent your home, Housing Benefit. Also, if you have a carer, you might be eligible for a Carer Premium, worth a potential extra £35 per week. What's to lose?

Savings Credit

This one's important. Savings Credit provides support to pensioners with savings above the State Pension payment. It's in place to give you some extra money to provide a better standard of living.
How much?
If you're a single applicant, you could receive a Savings Credit payment worth £13.20, or £14.90 for couples. Bear in mind, although there's no set limit of how much savings you have in the bank, amounts over £10,000 will affect how much you receive.
Savings Credit eligibility criteria
You can only claim Savings Credit if you (or your partner) were at State Pension age on or before the 6th April 2016.

How To Apply

If you're happy to do things online, visit https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim. On the other hand, if you're like thousands of pensioners who prefer to speak to someone, you can call the Pension Credit claim line for free on 0800 99 1234. Someone will be happy to fill out your application for you over the phone. If you have a textphone, dial 0800 169 0133.

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