Fresh plea to check if you can get £3,500 boost as Pension Credit claims double

Pensioner and younger person looking at laptop

The DWP granted around 143,000 Pension Credit claims in the previous tax year

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 10/08/2023

- 15:03

Updated: 10/08/2023

- 17:18

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners are eligible for the state pension top-up Pension Credit but are not claiming it.

The number of Pension Credit claims made to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) more than doubled in the most recent tax year, sparking fresh calls for people to check if they’re eligible for extra help.

The DWP granted around 143,000 Pension Credit claims out of just over 240,000 claims made in 2022/23.

Approximately 111,000 claims were made in the previous tax year, of which just shy of 82,000 were granted, according to DWP data obtained by AJ Bell.

Tom Selby, the firm's head of retirement policy, commented: “The fact Pension Credit claims have more than doubled in the space of a year is both heartening and depressing.

Pensioner and younger person looking at book

Pensioners are being urged to see if they are entitled to financial help 


“Heartening because it means over 60,000 more people received Pension Credit and the benefits that go with it in 2022/23, but depressing because it shows just how much retirees are struggling as a result of price rises.”

Pension Credit is a top-up amount worth around £3,500 a year on average to those who claim it, the DWP says.

Claiming it also unlocks a number of other benefits, including eligibility for cost of living payments intended for low-income households.

An estimated 850,000 eligible households were not claiming Pension Credit according to the most recent figures covering 2019/20.

Mr Selby said: “Pension Credit has historically been chronically underclaimed by those who are eligible, with hundreds of thousands of households potentially missing out on thousands of pounds of valuable extra income per year.

“This is particularly tragic because those who are eligible for Pension Credit are likely to be among the poorest households in the UK.

“The rising cost of living has brought greater urgency to the issue, in particular, because a successful Pension Credit application automatically triggers cost of living payments worth hundreds of pounds, as well as acting as a gateway to other benefits like free TV licences and help with heating costs.”

Of the 240,562 claims made, 95,515 claims were refused in the most recent tax year. The DWP said there are some claims awaiting a decision.

Pensioner and younger person looking at phone

Even if a Pension Credit claim has been refused, people may still be entitled to other benefits


Mr Selby urged households who have had their claim rejected to check if other help is available.

He said: “If your Pension Credit claim has been turned down you may still be entitled to other benefits, so it’s worth checking to see if you are eligible for other forms of financial help.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our nationwide Pension Credit campaign is helping drive claims to an all-time high.

“Pension Credit provides a financial boost worth around £3,500 a year and opens doors to help pensioners with heating, housing and other costs too. We continue to encourage pensioners and their loved ones to check if they are eligible.”

If a Pension Credit recipient is single, their state pension will be topped up to £201.05 a week.

For couples, the combined figure is a top-up to £306.85 a week.

You may like