Around 850,000 households are believed to be missing out on vital Pension Credit support, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has warned.
While more than 1.4 million pensioners are receiving Pension Credit, many are not claiming this extra financial help that can also be a gateway to other benefits.
An estimated £1.7 billion in the benefit is being left unclaimed at a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting people on low or fixed incomes particularly hard.
The DWP, which was holding its second annual Pension Credit “day of action” as part of an awareness-raising drive, said it will be providing leaflets for local communities and is encouraging businesses to spread the word to customers.
State pension recipients will also continue to receive reminders about Pension Credit in the post.
The campaign reminds people that even a small award can provide access to a wide range of other benefits, such as help with housing costs, council tax or heating bills. For those over 75, this includes continued entitlement to a free TV licence.
Minister for pensions Guy Opperman said: “We recognise the challenges some pensioners will be facing with the cost of living which is why promoting Pension Credit is a priority.
“We’re calling on everyone with retired family, friends and loved ones to check in with them and see if they can get this extra financial support, which could make a huge difference to people’s everyday lives.”
Who can claim Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is designed to help with daily living costs for people over state pension age and on a low income.
You must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached State Pension age to qualify for Pension Credit.
It can be claimed by phone and online, and an online Pension Credit calculator can help pensioners check if they are likely to be eligible and provide an estimate of what they may receive.
How much money will I get?
Pension Credit tops up a person’s weekly income to a minimum of £182.60 per week for single pensioners and to £278.70 for couples.
You may get extra amounts, known as ‘Guarantee Credit’, if you have other responsibilities and costs.
Martin Lewis, founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com, said that pensioners that are due a payment could receive as much as £3,300 per year.
He said: “Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, it’s a national tragedy that getting on for a million pensioners are missing out on a major income boost.
“My simple rule of thumb is if you (or someone you know) are aged 66 or older, and have total income of under roughly £200 a week, get online or call the Pension Credit claim line to see if you’re due a payment that can be as much as £3,300 a year.
“I’m not saying everyone will get it, but many will, and it only takes a few minutes to find out. So don’t stall, just call.
“And not only is this serious money, it’s also often a gateway entitlement that means you’re due a range of other support, such as council tax reductions, the £650 extra energy funding help, warm home discount, housing benefit, dental and optical treatments and, for the over-75s, a free TV licence.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, added: “Any older person on a low or modest income who is struggling with their bills or wants to find out more about extra income that might be available, can also contact Age UK for support to check their full entitlements and see if they’re one of the many who are missing out.
“People can call Age UK’s Advice Line on freephone 0800 169 65 65, contact their local Age UK office or visit www.ageuk.org.uk.”