Almost a million households could miss out on £900 cost of living payment | The Sun

MORE than 800,000 hard-up households could miss out on a £900 cost of living payment this year due to a loophole.

More than eight million people will get the help directly into their bank accounts.

And the £900 in free cash will be paid over the financial year in three instalments.

To be eligible for the payment, households will need to be claiming at least one of the following:

  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Pension credit
  • Tax credits (child tax credit and working tax credit)
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax support
  • Social fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
  • Universal Credit

But the 850,000 households eligible for pension credit that doesn't claim the benefit could miss out on the cost of living payment.

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Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell said: "Almost a million pensioner households could miss out on the extra government support this year if they aren’t signed up to receive pension credit when they’re entitled to do so.

"The government estimates 850,000 households are eligible for the benefit but don’t claim it, meaning they face a double whammy of missing out on the benefit, as well as the £900 cost of living support payment."

Pensioners with an income of less than £200 a week, or couples with less than £300 a week should check whether they are entitled to pension credit, according to Ms Suter.

Low-income retirees can get more than £3,500 a year to support everyday costs through pension credit.

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Those that discover their eligibility can also get up to three months' worth of backdated payments.

To get the £900 cost of living payment, you must be entitled to pension credit by a certain date.

This certain date will be announced nearer the time, the DWP said.

The first of three instalments worth £301 will be paid in Spring.

Who is eligible for pension credit?

It is available for people who are over the state pension age, and who live in England, Scotland or Wales.

This is currently rising to 66 for both men and women.

It used to be the case that couples, where one person was over state pension age, could claim, but new rules now mean that both people in a couple must be over retirement age to apply.

This means if you're single and move in with a partner who is younger than the state pension age, you will stop being eligible.

But if you're already receiving pension credit under the old system it won't stop unless your circumstances change.

To qualify, you'll need to have a weekly income of less than £182.60 for single people or £278.70 for couples.

Your income is worked out taking into account various elements including:

  • Your state pension
  • Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
  • Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
  • Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
  • Earnings from a job

The calculation does not include:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Christmas bonus
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax reduction

If your income is too high to get pension credit, you may still get some savings pension credit, so it's worth checking.

How much can you get in pension credit?

There are two parts to the benefit and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:

  • Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £182.60 a week if you're single and £278.70 a week for married couples.
  • Savings credit – provides extra money if you've saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £14.48 a week for a single person or £16.20 a week for a married couple.

You may also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.

For instance, you can get either £56.35 a week or £66.85 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for.

If you are disabled or care for someone who is disabled, you may get more.

For example, if you have a severe disability you could get an extra £69.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £38.85 a week.

How do I apply?

You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.

Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you'll need to be with them when they do.

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

If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.

How will I be paid?

Your benefits are usually paid into an account, for instance, a bank account.

They're usually paid every four weeks.

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You’ll be asked for your bank, building society or credit union account details when you claim.

But if you have problems opening or managing an account, you might be able to claim a different way.

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