Older people on lower incomes can still get £299 cost-of-living payment – but Pension Credit deadline is looming
- Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is urging those who may be eligible for Pension Credit to apply by 5th March
- Applying by this date and asking for it to be backdated means claimants should be eligible for the £299 cost-of-living payment
- Pension Credit is under-claimed – with a reported 850,000 households eligible nationally but not claiming
Older people on lower incomes still have time to apply for a benefit – potentially opening up a £299 payment.
But they must apply for Pension Credit by 5th March and ask for it to be backdated in order to receive the one-off cost-of-living payment.
Claimants must also have been of state pension age between 13th November 2023 and 12th December 2023.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is drawing attention to the window – as residents may not be aware there is still an opportunity to get the cost-of-living payment.
National figures showed there were 850,000 households eligible for Pension Credit but were not claiming last year – missing out on a combined total of £1.8bn.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire last year estimated there were 4,000 unclaimed Pension Credit claims in South Gloucestershire alone.
This figure is based on the percentage of the population of England, Wales and Scotland who are thought to be eligible but not claiming (1.3 per cent) applied to the population of South Gloucestershire (290,400).
£299 Payment – eligibility
To be eligible for Pension Credit, you must have reached State Pension age, not have too much income or savings and live in the UK.
You can still be working, as long as your income isn’t too high. Unlike the State Pension, you don’t need a national insurance record. It is worth more than £3,500 per year on average.
Pension Credit claims can be backdated for up to three months. This means applications made before 5th March could allow applicants to receive the third cost-of-living payment, worth £299.
The tax-free grant itself does not need to be applied for – and is paid directly to people who received one of the benefits listed below for any day between 13th November 2023 and 12th December 2023:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
The Government has said you will not be eligible for the payment if your benefit is reduced to £0 for the qualifying period.
This is known as a “nil award” – where the benefit entitlement is reduced to £0 unless it is because of a deduction or repayment.
The cost-of-living payment is due to be paid between 16th and 22nd February for those receiving child tax credit or working tax credit only.
For all other benefits, it is due to be paid from 6th to 22nd February.
‘People are missing out’
Emmanuelle Claverie is Lead Supervisor at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire and leads a team of Advisers.
She said: “The Government is making a cost-of-living payment available and people are missing out. People are not claiming not only the ongoing benefit but also the extra support on top.
“The main thing is to do it – if in doubt, apply. People can come to us if they have any queries – but they don’t have a huge amount of time.”
Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947.
The charity’s opening times and contact details are available at: www.southgloscab.org.uk/get-advice/visit-us/