Are you owed a state pension boost? Credits worth £3.5 BILLION are going unclaimed, new official figures reveal

16 November 2018

Families across Britain are missing out on thousands of pounds every year by failing to claim for pension, housing and income related benefits, official figures show.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions, up to 1.3 million pensioners are failing to claim pension credits worth £2,500 every year – or £3.5 billion in total.

Pension credits are designed to make sure pensioners who get below £163 (or £248.80 for couples) receive a minimum income each week.

Helen Morrissey, Royal London pension specialist, says: “This has been a long-running issue that needs to be addressed by government sooner rather than later."

She adds: “This is a benefit aimed at the poorest of pensioners and steps must be taken to ensure they get the support they need.”

Another 1.3 million families who were entitled to receive housing benefit worth £3,000 a year – or £4.2 billion - also failed to claim.

Meanwhile, half a million families did not claim income support or employment support worth £4,500 a year – or £2.4 billion.

The DWP says that take-up may be affected by factors such as the attractiveness of the benefit, lack of awareness or the perceived stigma of receiving a benefit.

Pritie Billimoria from charity Turn2us says: “At a time when a rising number of people are living poverty, it is incredibly worrying to see over £10 billion of benefits are left unclaimed.

“Welfare benefits are a safety net and too many people are slipping through. It is entirely unnecessary that young families are facing eviction, working parents are skipping meals so their children can eat and people are going without the very basics such as heating."

She adds: “People all too often presume they’re getting all the financial support available or that they’re not entitled to anything and many also fear that their claim will be rejected.

“It can be difficult to know where to turn for support and daunting to ask for help. But anyone on a low income needs to regularly check that they’re getting all the help available to them.”

How do these benefits work?

Pension credits

Pension credit is an income-related benefit made up of two parts.

The guarantee credit tops up your weekly income to £163 if you are single or £248.80 for couples.

Savings credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement by saving or with a pension other than a state pension.

The additional income provided by savings credit is worth up to £13.40 a week for a single person or £14.99 for couples.

However, you might not be eligible for this credit if you reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016.

Housing benefit

You could get housing benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income.

Housing benefit can pay for part or all of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.

You can apply for housing benefit whether you’re unemployed or working.

Income support

If you are not in full-time work or have a low income you may be entitled to income support.

The actual amount you get depends on your circumstances, but if you qualify and have no income you’ll get at least £57.90 a week. If you are single you could get a maximum of £73.10 a week, while couples are entitled to a maximum of £114.85

Employment support allowance

If you are out of work because you are ill or disabled you may be entitled to employment and support allowance of up to £110.75 a week or more if you have a severe disability.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Where can I get information for savings credit entitlement, electronically please.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

According to your statement above on Pension Credits above, I should be entitled to savings credits which are available to pensioners who reached pension age before 6th April 2016. However, time after time, I have been told I am not entitled to them because George Osborne axed them in one of his budgets and I missed out by a short time.I was born on 30/05/1951 and started receiving my pension plus a small addition from my late husband's pension scheme which he had paid into at one time but froze when he became self-employed. I reached state pension age on the 6th July, 2012. I accept that I am not entitled to Pension Credit, but according to your article, Savings Credit. Either you are correct stating this or The Department of Works and Pensions are lying to me? I am totally baffled and it is not the first time I have read such articles how pensioners can claim Savings Credits. Please do not print ambiguous information unless it is accurate.

In reply to by Sheila Hodder (not verified)

I don't understand how Saving Credits worked. Is it for every pensioner rich or poor???

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You have not given me the information that I have requested, I wish to investigate the rules of Savings Credits, so please advise where I can read what they are in order that I can check my entitlement. I thank you in advance for sending me a link to the advice.

In reply to by Robin Williams (not verified)

The government website has more details on pension credits and a calculator.

Council Tax Benefit

It is too difficult for people of pensionable to claim Council Tax Benefit,because councils make it too difficult for people in rural areas who cannot travel and are not computer savvi to claim.I have given up.

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