Starting this month, advertising for Pension Credit will feature in internet search results and on social media, before being expanded to national and regional newspapers. It comes as new figures show many pensioners could be missing out on Pension Credit, a vital financial boost that can be worth over £3,300 a year.
The Department for Work and Pensions will also be distributing leaflets within local communities, while businesses can also get involved in the campaign by spreading the word to their clients using the department’s digital toolkit and encouraging them to call the claim line between the hours of 8am-6pm.
Currently, over 1.4 million pensioners in Britain receive Pension Credit. However, many are still not claiming this extra financial help and it is estimated up to £1.7bn is being left unclaimed. This is why the DWP is renewing calls for all pensioners to check if they could be eligible.
Minister for Pensions Guy Opperman said:
“We recognise the challenges some pensioners will be facing with the cost of living which is why promoting Pension Credit is a priority. That’s why we’re calling on everyone with retired family, friends and loved ones to check in with them and see if they can get this extra financial support.”
The campaign also includes tackling some of the myths that may stop people applying, such as how having savings, a pension or owning a home are not necessarily barriers to receiving Pension Credit.
It also reminds people that even a small award can provide access to a wide range of other benefits – such as help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills. For those over 75, this includes continued entitlement to a free TV licence.
Pension Credit can be claimed by phone and online, ensuring that older people can apply safely and easily, wherever they are. The online Pension Credit calculator is also on hand to help pensioners check if they’re likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“Pension Credit can make a big difference if you’ve reached State Pension Age and haven’t got much money coming in. With prices rising rapidly at the moment it’s more important than ever to claim what’s rightfully yours. We urge any older person who thinks they may be eligible to put in a claim and Age UK is here to provide advice and practical support to help you with the process. Pension Credit is something of a well kept secret – many people have simply not heard of it. That’s a real shame because at Age UK we see how much it helps those who actually receive it. We hope this campaign is the first step in a sustained government effort to bring Pension Credit to the older public’s attention, and we warmly support it for this reason. Pension Credit is really important for older people and deserves to be much better known.”
Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“We welcome this campaign to increase Pension Credit uptake. We know this support can be life-changing but for too long, too many people over 65 who are eligible have been missing out. Older people have told us that before receiving Pension Credit they would skip meals, struggle with a cold home and feel isolated, as they would turn down opportunities to see people because they couldn’t even afford a cup of tea in a café.
With the cost-of-living crisis making life even more harsh for people over 65, it has never been more urgent to take action on Pension Credit. Awareness campaigns are one part of the strategic approach that is needed at this critical time, so it is very positive to see the government working with local partners to deliver awareness raising materials.
We look forward to seeing the impact of this campaign, so that further, fast action can be taken to target those who are missing out.”
Pension Credit is designed to help with daily living costs for people over State Pension age and on a low income, though it is not a requirement to be in receipt of State Pension to receive it. Pension credit tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £177.10 per week for single pensioners or £270.30 for couples. These amounts will rise to £182.60 per week for single pensioners and to £278.70 for couples from 11th April.