Are you entitled to extra support? (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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Pensioners are missing out on thousands of pounds of income by failing to claim their full entitlement to state benefits, including pensions credit.
Around 42% of those eligible for financial support are missing out entirely – to the tune of £830 a year each.
A further 20% of retired Brits who do claim financial aid, are, on average, still missing out on £702 a year.
The report by retirement planning provider Just Group suggests six in 10 retirees are failing to claim what they are entitled to.
The worst case discovered was a pensioner in Durham who was failing to claim any benefit despite being eligible for Council Tax Reduction and Guaranteed Pension Credit amounting to £4,854 a year.
Around 42% of those eligible for financial support are missing out to the tune of £830 a year each
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There are 5.39million retired household homeowners in England according to government figures, making up 22.9% of all 23.53million household homeowners in England.
Almost £100billion is automatically provided through the state pension, but some schemes, such as pensions credit, are means tested.
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"We know that older people often miss out on the benefits to which they are entitled and we worry that significant numbers, whether home-owners or not, struggle financially as a result,' said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.
"Many are simply unaware that extra support is there waiting for them whilst some older people are totally put off by the process, which they feel is too complicated or intrusive.
The Government itself estimates up to a million households are failing to claim pension credit amounting to £1.7billion – equating to roughly £1,700 per household
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
"It all adds up to billions of pounds going begging which by right should be in the pockets of older people who could really do with it."
The Government itself estimates up to a million households are failing to claim pension credit amounting to £1.7billion – equating to roughly £1,700 per household.
"We have found meaningful sums that would make a massive difference to people's lives that are not being claimed,' said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group.
"It reflects the government's own figures that show billions go unclaimed and raises serious questions about whether people in most need are able to navigate the complexities of the benefits system."
How much you'll get
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There are two sides to pensions credit: guarantee credit and savings credit.
Guarantee credit is essentially a top-up for people on low incomes.
If you're single and your weekly income (including pension) is below £173.75, your income will be topped up to this amount.
If you're in a couple and your joint weekly income is below £265.20, your income will be topped up to £265.20.
The savings credit element can help top-up your retirement pot.
If you're single, savings credit is worth up to £13.97 a week. To qualify, you must have a minimum income of £150.47 a week.
If you're in a couple, savings credit is worth up to £15.62 a week. To qualify, you must have a minimum combined income of £239.17 a week.
What else can I claim with pension credits?
If you're over state pension age, live in the UK, and earn less than £173.75 a week as a single person or £265.20 a week as a couple, including pensions, savings and work, then you could be entitled to a top up.
And those who qualify may be able to unlock thousands of pounds worth of additional savings, such as the free TV licence for over-75s.
As well as free access to TV, those who claim pension credits may also get a council tax reduction, £25 a week off their gas bills, free dental care and a £140 warm home discount to cover their winter bills.
Those who wear glasses may also qualify for vouchers worth up to £215 as well as housing benefit to help cover rent payments.
How can I apply?
The scheme, which is run by the Department for Work and Pensions, is not automatic – meaning you will have to apply and be assessed first.
It's largely available to those who live in the UK, have reached state pension age (your partner must be at state pension age too) and have less than £10,000 in savings (if you have more, you may get a reduced payment instead).
You can apply via Gov.uk if you've already claimed your state pension, but otherwise you'll need to phone the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.
We've got a full guide on who can claim pension credits, here.
What else can I get?
There are a range of resources available to support people in claiming their full benefit entitlement and to provide additional guidance, including organisations such as Money Advice Service and charities such as Age UK and Citizens Advice.
The government has an online calculator to help check if you qualify for pensions credit or any other benefits, here.