The vital need for low income pensioner households to apply for the benefits to which they are entitled is being highlighted by the Government’s announcements that over eight million households across the UK – including many pensioners – will receive a £301 Cost of Living Payment from the Government, with payments rolled out from 25 April. By Tony Watts OBE.
This is first of three new Cost of Living payments adding up to £900 in 2023/24 – though some people will receive up to £1,350.
These will be accompanied by a £150 payment for people on eligible disability benefits this summer, and a £300 payment on top of Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners at the end of 2023.
People will be eligible for the Cost of Living Payment if they have been entitled to a payment for one of seven benefits between 26 January and 25 February 2023. The eligible benefits are:
- Universal Credit;
- Pension Credit;
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance;
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
- Income Support;
- Working Tax Credit;
- Child Tax Credit.
Those entitled do not need to do apply for the payment or do anything to receive it. Payments made during this window will be staggered over the next couple of weeks.
The latest payment follows on from the £650 Cost of Living Payment delivered by the Government in 2022, along with another £150 disability payment and a £300 pensioner payment.
While payments are made automatically, people must be receiving one of the eligible qualifying benefits during the specified period to qualify. Those who wish to check their entitlement to benefits should use a benefits calculator on Gov.uk to get a better idea of what they could receive.
Low-income pensioners particularly should check their eligibility for Pension Credit, as they may still be able to receive the £301 Cost of Living Payment, and subsequent payments, if they make a successful backdated application by 19 May 2023.
Those in need are also encouraged to contact their local council to see if any additional support is available in their local area, such as through the DWP’s Household Support Fund in England, worth over £2 billion across its lifetime.
While firm figures are not available, Independent Age this week delivered a £1.1billion “invoice” to ministers to highlight the value of Pension Credit they estimate goes unclaimed by almost 600,000 people, and has called on the Government “to outline a sustained and strategic approach to reducing the amount of eligible older people missing out on the entitlement”.
Talking to the Daily Mirror, Policy chief Morgan Vine said: “The Government has made a good start on efforts to increase Pension Credit uptake, however, the number of new claims is unlikely to touch the sides when it comes to those still missing out. “Our own analysis shows that far too many eligible people are likely to still not be receiving this vital support.
“This is having a detrimental impact on the lives of people across Great Britain.”