880,000 pensioners are missing out on £3,500 plus extra support – are you?

Person looks at laptop

Pension Credit take-up has dipped

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 26/10/2023

- 13:11

Updated: 27/10/2023

- 16:23

State pension age Britons on a low income could be able to claim the top-up benefit Pension Credit

Pension Credit take-up has dipped, with up to 880,000 families entitled to receive the benefit not claiming it, new figures published this morning show, with up to £2.1billion going unclaimed.

This amounted to around £2,200 per year on average for each family entitled to the benefit.

In the financial year end (FYE) 2022, an estimated 63 per cent of families who were entitled to Pension Credit received it, down from 66 per cent of families in FYE 2020.

An estimated 73 per cent of the total amount of Pension Credit that could have been claimed was claimed in the FYE 2022.

Person looks at documents and laptop

The Pension Credit data shows hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling in retirement are not getting the help they need, Helen Morrissey said


This was four percentage points lower than for FYE 2020, at 77 per cent.

The DWP says the average Pension Credit award is worth more than £3,500 per year and it also opens doors to other benefits.

Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the data, showing a “shock dip” in Pension Credit take-up, notes the pandemic affected how information was gathered, which may have affected the results.

She said: “The fact remains though that hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling in retirement are not getting the help they need.

“Pension Credit boosts the income of the poorest pensioners and acts as a valuable gateway to other benefits, such as help with heating bills and NHS treatment. If you’re over 75, you’re also entitled to a free TV licence.

“Most notably, claiming Pension Credit also means you are entitled to a series of cost-of-living payments, which can make a huge difference in these difficult times. Quite simply, not claiming Pension Credit can leave you poorer to the tune of thousands of pounds.

“These are enormous sums of money that could really boost people’s income in retirement, and it is vitally important that those who think they may be entitled to support check to see if they are entitled.”

The data shows in 2020, an estimated 68 per cent of under 75s entitled to Pension Credit claimed it, with this dropping to 60 per cent in 2022.

Steve Webb, partner at consultants LCP, said: “The drop in Pension Credit take-up is deeply worrying. Despite a range of publicity campaigns, the message is simply not getting through.

DWP logo in pictures

The DWP says the average Pension Credit award is worth more than £3,500 per year plus access to other benefits


“Pension Credit is a vital way of ensuring that people in retirement have a decent minimum standard of living.

“It seems likely that the link between Pension Credit and free TV licences for older pensioners has helped to sustain levels of take-up in that group, but the drop amongst younger pensioners must prompt urgent action.

“Many of those who do not take-up Pension Credit will be known to the government, for example through claiming other benefits such as Housing Benefit.

“Systematic use of the data government already holds is the best way to tackle this problem rather than one-off publicity campaigns.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “The latest published take-up estimates cover the financial year ending 2022. Since April 2022, our extensive communications campaign has helped drive Pension Credit claims to an all-time high, with applications up by around 75 per cent in the 12 months to May 2023 compared to the same period last year.

“Alongside this, we’ve supported pensioners with the biggest state pension increase in history this year, have committed to the triple lock, and are providing pensioners with up to £600 to help with heating costs this winter.”

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