Retirees missing out on £1,500 pensions top-up

Some British pensioners could increase their annual income by applying for state benefits. 

Pensioner homeowners are missing out on thousands of pounds of extra income by failing to claim the full entitlement to state benefits, according to the latest Just Group annual state benefits survey.

Nearly half (46%) of retired homeowners are failing to claim any state benefits at all causing them to miss out on an average of £1,423 in 2019, up from £1,139 the previous year.

The three key state benefits that can be claimed by pensioners are guarantee pension credit, savings pension credit and a council tax reduction.

Guarantee pension credit, which tops up your weekly income, so it reaches a minimum sum set by the government, has the highest take-up, with 85% of eligible retirees claiming it. 

Those failing to claim guarantee pension credit miss out on an average of £1,690 a year.  

Only 42% of entitled pensioners claim a council tax reduction, losing an average of £801 a year. 

Savings pension credit – an extra payment from the government to reward you for savings towards your retirement – has the lowest take-up, with just 21% of eligible people claiming.

Failing to claim could cost an individual £453 per year.

Overall, 42% of those eligible to claim are missing out on the key benefits, 14% are missing out on two, and 1% are missing out on the full three.

Just Group found that some pensioners were missing out on as much as £13,600 a year worth of extra income by failing to claim their full state benefit entitlement.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, says: “Our benefits survey reflects official figures, which show vast amounts go unclaimed.

“For the two elements of Pension Credit, the government estimates about 1.3 million families are failing to claim up to £3.5 billion a year. 

The low level of take-up for some of the key benefits raises serious questions about the support being given to help people navigate the complexities of the benefits system.

This article was first written by our sister magazine Moneywise.

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