Pension Credit Going Unclaimed ? 3 BILLION WORTH ! A Timely Reminder!

**The pensioners missing out on up to £2,500 : More than £3bn unclaimed for third straight year, as people again fail to take Pension Credit.

DWP figures show 1.3m families missed out on claiming retirement benefits.

Families who failed to claim could have missed out on £2,500.

Expert calls it a ‘long-running issue’ that needs to be solved soon.**

Online Benefit Checker … essential for some readers ?


**_The percentage of eligible families who have not taken up the benefit has remained similar for the last five years, when 62 per cent of families took up the benefit.

The figures also showed that the take-up of Pension Credit by those aged under-75 was 2 per cent higher than those over-75. You can start claiming Guarantee Credit if you were born before December 5, 1953.

How to claim Pension Credit

Charity Age UK says claiming Pension Credit only takes one phone call - you don’t even have to fill in a form

Just call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234, and have the following ready:

- National Insurance number

  • Bank account details

  • Information about your income, savings and investments

  • Information about your pension (if you have one)

  • Details of any housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)

  • Partner’s details (if you have a partner)

    The value of the unclaimed benefit amounted to £3.5 billion, which is £400 million higher than it was two years ago.

    In total, 36 per cent of Pension Credit went unclaimed last year.

    The report states: ‘Trying to explain the reasons for non-take-up is difficult, but it may be affected by factors such as the attractiveness of the benefit, lack of awareness of the benefit or application procedure, lack of awareness of entitlement, the perceived stigma of receiving a benefit’.

    Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, said: 'Whatever the reasons, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and leave those older people on the lowest incomes to miss out on what they are due.

    'The Government needs to ramp up its efforts to increase public awareness of Pension Credit and explore other options for getting this money to older people, rather than expecting them to do all the hard work of claiming it themselves.

    ‘It’s unfair to expect these older people, many of whom are likely to be in poor health and with few sources of support, to find their way through the benefits maze.’

    In January this year, financial firm Just Group’s Stephen Lowe told This is Money that Guarantee Pension Credit represents the biggest unclaimed sums of the state benefits tracked by his firm, and that those not claiming the benefit were losing out on average of £3,431 a year.

    Royal London Pension Specialist Helen Morrisey said: ‘This has been a long running issue that needs to be addressed by government sooner rather than later.

    ‘This is a benefit aimed at the poorest of pensioners and steps must be taken to ensure they get the support they need.’_**


**Tens of thousands of unpaid carers are missing out on free credits that would boost their state pension.

_Just under 17,400 applied last year, out of around 200k estimated to be eligible.

If you get Carer’s Allowance, you get an automatic boost to your state pension.

But if you are a carer for 20 hours plus a week and don’t get the allowance, you must apply for credits yourself._**


**_Fewer than one in 10 carers who could claim free annual credits to boost their state pension are doing so, official figures reveal.

The Government is being urged to do more to get people signed up after it emerged just under 17,400 applied last year, out of around 200,000 who are estimated to be eligible.

Unpaid carers are sacrificing time and income to help others, and don’t deserve to lose thousands of pounds of state pension, according to financial services firm Quilter, which obtained the latest figures on ‘carer’s credits’ via a Freedom of Information request.

Some 800,000 carers who receive Carer’s Allowance get these valuable credits added to their state pension record automatically.

But if you have caring responsibilities for more than 20 hours a week, and don’t qualify for this allowance, you have to apply for carer’s credits yourself.

Each annual credit missed could cost you 1/35 of the value of the state pension – around £244 per year or £4,880 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.

‘There are many people out there who may have no idea that they are in fact a carer and could be entitled to claim credits,’ says Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter.

'Caring responsibilities can sometimes ramp up over time and what might have started as doing a few simple jobs around the house for someone, can end up being akin to a full-time job.

‘Carers Trust defines a carer as “anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support”.’

Griffin points out that unpaid carers save the UK £132billion a year, according to figures from the charity Carers UK.

Quilter is calling on the Government to launch an awareness campaign, review how information and claim forms are handed out to carers, and clearly explain to them how to get backdated credits.

It is possible to retrospectively claim carer’s credits to the beginning of the previous tax year.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: 'We want people who are not working because of caring responsibilities to receive their full entitlement to state pension.

‘There are a number of ways carers can ensure they do this. Claiming carer’s credits is just one, and we have worked with Carers UK and run several campaigns to let people know about them.’

Steve Webb, former Pensions Minister and now policy director at Royal London, said: 'The carer’s credit for those caring for more than 20 hours per week has to be actively claimed and it is clear that very few of those who are eligible have actually made a claim.

'It is worth claiming as soon as possible, because although some limited backdating is allowed, the sooner you claim, the more help you will get.

'Anyone receiving Carer’s Allowance because they are caring for more than 35 hours per week should get credits added to their National Insurance record automatically.

‘You can check your NI record via Check your State Pension forecast - GOV.UK. You should find that any full year when you were on carers allowance is shown as a “qualifying year” towards your state pension.’_**