Martin Lewis warns of last chance to apply for ‘vital’ pension credit & £301 cost of living payment
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Martin Lewis has warned nearly one million pensioner households of their last chance to sign up for pension credit that will trigger eligibility for the £301 cost of living payment. The Money Saving Expert (MSE) founder reminded people aged over 66 they have just over two weeks to sign up for the cash boost, which he dubbed “vital help they’re entitled to” during the cost of living crisis.
Pension credit aims to top up total income for those of state pension age to, for this tax year, £201.05 per week for single pensioners and £306.85 per week for couples. Eligibility is “complex”, said Mr Lewis, and rates may vary depending on whether you have savings, caring responsibilities or disabilities.
But the consumer champion said it was worth checking “and checking again” if you meet the criteria as you could be entitled to backdated payments as well as other benefits such as a free TV licence, housing benefit, cold weather payments and more.
Writing in his MSE weekly newsletter, Mr Lewis said one woman had written to him to share she had received a payment of £2,000 in backdated pension credit after signing up. The woman told him: “Now receiving over £300/mth, so am delighted and very grateful to your team for encouraging me to at least try.”
Mr Lewis said: “Unlike with other benefits, pension credit can be backdated, so even though the first £301 cost of living payment has started, if you claim by [the deadline], you can still get the first £301 spring payment, and will then be due the remaining payments in autumn 2023 and spring 2024.
“This is on top of the £300 additional payment all state pensioners will get later this year, alongside the normal annual winter fuel payment. If you were just over the margin before, primarily due to a small private pension, you might be newly eligible, as since April the pension credit threshold has increased by 10.1 per cent (in line with the state pension).
“For a few, it is worth checking again. Also, if you’ve got new responsibilities as a carer, it’s vital to re-check.”
People have until Friday, May 19 to apply for pension credit that will trigger eligibility for the £301 cost of living payment. You can check if you’re eligible on the Gov.uk website or call 0800 99 1234.