As many as 40% of pensioners are missing out on income in retirement by not claiming the pension credit they are owed.
Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that nearly two million people are taking advantage of the scheme, which paid out more than £6 billion during the 2015/16 tax year.
However, more than £3.3 billion of pension credit remains unclaimed. Pensioners and their families are being urged to check if they are receiving what they are entitled to.
Each family that has not claimed is missing out on around £2,000, the DWP says.
The government has launched an online calculator for pensioners to check if they are eligible. New claimants can call 0800 991 234 (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) for more information.
New claims can be backdated up to three months, the DWP confirmed to Moneywise.
What is pension credit?
Pension credit is intended to help people on low incomes to cover their basic living costs.
It is based on a claimant’s income and guarantees a minimum weekly income of £159.35 for single people or £243.25 for couples.
Additional sums may be paid to people who have disabilities or certain housing costs, such as those living in sheltered accomodation or paying service charges for warden support schemes.
‘Many older people are still not claiming the support they are entitled to’
Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, says: “With billions unclaimed, I urge everyone to check that they and their relatives, friends and neighbours are claiming the pension credit they are entitled to.
“Through a simple check, you could have access to additional money that could make all the difference in day-to-day life.
“Even though we have reduced pensioner poverty close to historically low levels, many older people are still not claiming the support they are entitled to.”