Pension credit non-applicants losing more than free TV licence

Retirees who are not checking whether they qualify for pension credit risk losing out on more than just their free TV licence, analysis from Royal London has found.

Last week it was announced that the BBC was planning to restrict free TV licences from 2020 to those aged over 75 and receiving pension credit.

Royal London has warned that those eligible for pension credit but not claiming it could also miss out on benefits such as assistance with council tax and utility payments.

Government statistics show that there are up to 1.3 million retirees who could be entitled to pension credit but are yet to apply for it.

Commenting on the findings, Royal London pension specialist, Helen Morrissey, said: “Pension credit is designed to help the very poorest of pensioners and yet figures show many are yet to claim it.

“This money could have a significant impact on these peoples’ standard of living and acts as a gateway to a host of other benefits.”

Alongside free TV licences, some pensioners claiming pension credit could be eligible to discounts on utility bills through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which is a one-off £140 discount automatically paid to the relevant electricity supplier.

Cold weather payments of £25 for each week of “very cold weather” during the winter months are also available to pension credit claimants, while some are eligible to having council tax paid in full and free NHS dental care.

Research from Royal London last month (May) found that hundreds of thousands of grandparents could be missing out on state pension credits for taking care of grandchildren.

It discovered that 10,000 grandparents had claimed in 2017/18, despite approximately 1.1 million being eligible.

A year of credits is worth 1/35 of the full state pension, currently £8,767, meaning grandparents could be missing out on £5,000 over the course of a 20-year retirement.

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