Retirees urged to check for state pension top-up entitlement now as Britons get £2.2billion extra support

Pensioner on phone

Pension Credit is a top-up benefit which people who are of state pension age may be eligible for

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 07/11/2023

- 12:58

Updated: 07/11/2023

- 13:05

More than seven million households have been paid the £300 instalment of the means-tested £900 cost of living payment in the past eight days, including those on Pension Credit

Pensioners are being urged to check to see if they can claim a state pension top-up which could also open up entitlement to the low-income Cost of Living Payment.

Up to 880,000 families entitled to get Pension Credit are currently not claiming it, with £2.1billion going unclaimed – amounting to an average of £2,200 a year per household.

The average Pension Credit award is worth more than £3,500 per year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and it can also lead to extra support.

Millions of households received a £300 cost of living payment in the past eight days, worth £2.2billion, and people entitled to Pension Credit could still be able to get it if they act fast.

Pensioner on phone in front of laptop

Pension Credit recipients, who got the benefit within a certain time frame, could get the £300 cost of living payment


People getting qualifying means-tested benefits between August 18 and September 17 can get the payment.

Pension Credit claims can be backdated by three months, which means low-income retirees still have time to make a claim and benefit from the latest cost of living payment.

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, commented: “Anyone entitled to Pension Credit for even one day from August 18 to September 17 will benefit from the full £300 cost-of-living payment, but crucially it is up to the individual to make the claim.

“The DWP estimates hundreds of thousands of households that could be eligible for Pension Credit fail to claim the benefit they are entitled to.

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“This not only means people risk missing out on cost-of-living payments but financial support of £3,500 a year on average. In addition, Pension Credit acts as a gateway to other valuable benefits, such as help with heating costs and housing benefit.

“If you haven’t made a Pension Credit claim for the latest cost-of-living payment qualifying period, there’s still time, because you can backdate your claim by up to three months.”

People can check to see if they might qualify for Pension Credit via the online Pension Credit calculator.

Alternatively, they can call the government’s Pension Credit hotline.

Energy bills statement on phone

The cost of living payments will be a "lifeline" for eligible people who are struggling to make ends meet


Charities such as Age UK also provide a wealth of information and guidance which could help pensioners unsure about how to make a claim.

Mr Selby added: “Millions of households will be bracing for a challenging winter as the cost of living crisis continues to bite into people’s incomes.

“Those on lower incomes face a particularly tough time, which is why three cost of living payments worth £900 in total are being paid out over the course of 2023 and 2024.”

Mr Selby said these cost of living payments are a “lifeline” for those struggling to make ends meet.

He added: “Low-income pensioners are often acutely affected by the drop in temperatures in winter, particularly where mobility is an issue, which can mean leaving the house is a struggle.

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