Pensioners urged to check state pension top-up eligibility as deadline to get extra £300 is just days away

Pensioner reads letter

Pensioners are being urged to check to see if they are eligible for Pension Credit

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 05/12/2023

- 09:49

Updated: 05/12/2023

- 20:51

Pensioners could get an extra £300 on top of a state pension top-up worth £3,900 a year – but they will need to act fast

Pensioners are being urged to check to see if they are among hundreds of thousands of people entitled to Pension Credit but not currently claiming it.

The top-up benefit is worth £3,900 per year on average, and people who claim before December 10 may also be able to get a £300 tax-free cost of living payment.

This is because successful Pension Credit claims can be backdated for up to three months, as long as the applicant was also eligible to receive it at the time.

It means people who apply by December 10 this year could be eligible for the second cost of living payment for people getting means-tested benefits earlier this year.

Person uses laptop

People can check Pension Credit eligibility online via the Pension Credit calculator


​Dean Butler, managing director for retail direct at Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, said: “Pension Credit is a vital lifeline for people of state pension age and on low incomes, and the backdating deadline of Sunday, December 10 is particularly important this year as people who apply before the deadline could receive a £300 cost of living boost.

“With inflation still high and energy bills set to rise again in January, it’s important that people who are struggling are claiming everything they’re entitled to.

“A huge number of potentially eligible pensioners still don’t take up Pension Credit, however, it’s worth over £3,900 a year on average so can be a real help.”

According to the latest DWP figures, around 850,000 households are entitled to Pension Credit but don’t currently claim it.

Pension Credit tops up a person’s income to a minimum of £201.05 per week for single pensioners and to £306.85 for couples, and can also open eligibility to other support.

For instance, recipients may be able to get help with housing and council tax costs, and extra support for heating bills.

While they must be state pension age, people do not need to receive the state pension to get Pension Credit.

Mr Butler urged people not to make a common mistake when it comes to claiming Pension Credit.

He said: “Many people mistakenly believe that if they have some savings or their own home they won’t be entitled to Pension Credit, with others worried about a perceived stigma attached to claiming.

Person uses thermostat

Pension Credit could also open up eligibility to other benefits such as help with heating costs


“However, eligibility is wider than often assumed and Pension Credit can be a real lifeline when times are tough.

“People who claim Pension Credit may also be able to get help with heating costs, NHS services, rent and council tax and a free TV license.

“We would urge people to check eligibility with a benefits adviser or the Government’s online Pension Credit calculator and make sure they are receiving all possible help.”

People can check their eligibility via the Pension Credit calculator online, and apply in a variety of ways.

Applications can be made online, over the phone by calling 0800 99 1234 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm), or printing out and filling in a paper application form.

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