News from Bolton at Home
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Greater Manchester residents urged to claim £70m ‘pension top up’ to counter cost of living squeeze
Don’t lose out on money that should be yours
We encourage older people across Greater Manchester to check if you’re eligible for pension top up payments after figures revealed approximately 36,000 qualifying households are missing out on around £70 million in unclaimed pension credit.
Just in Bolton, we estimate there are over 4,000 qualifying households and £8 million going unclaimed. Research also suggests that the cost of unclaimed pension credit to the Greater Manchester health and social care sector is as much as £180 million.
What is pension credit and what difference can it make?
Pension credit, a benefit designed to bring the weekly income of pensioners up to a minimum amount, could make those who are eligible £34 a week better off on average with some people able to claim much higher amounts.
Pension Top Up campaign- who can you help?
We’re part of Greater Manchester Housing Providers, a partnership of 24 social housing providers. Together with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, through its Ageing Hub, we’re encouraging people to take up pension age benefits as part of our Pension Top Up campaign.
The campaign- supported by Independent Age, Age UK and Citizens Advice- encourages us all to ask our older family members and friends to check if they qualify for more income and make sure they know how to get assistance if it’s needed.
It can make a bigger difference
The squeeze on living standards caused by rising inflation and high energy bills has made it even more important for some to check if they’re entitled to pension credit, attendance allowance and housing benefit.
As well as extra income, receiving pension credit can also unlock other financial benefits such as a free TV licence for over 75s, council tax support and grants for insulation and other green home improvements.
Insight from Jean, Karen and the Mayor of Greater Manchester
Jean, a resident, aged 86, said: “Pension Credit has helped me with lots of the costs including food, clothing and bedding. My son helped me fill the forms out.”
Karen Mitchell is Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ Ageing Well Lead and Chief Executive of Southway Housing Trust. Karen says: “For many people that bit of extra income can make a crucial difference between struggling to pay the bills and living more comfortably. With more households struggling to meet the cost of living, we urge people to find out if they are eligible for pension credit and other support.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, says: “With so much pressure on household finances, it’s vital that older people are getting all the money they are entitled to. A third of those eligible for pension credit in Greater Manchester aren’t claiming, with many missing out on income from attendance allowance and housing benefit too. If you own your own home or have a private pension you could still be eligible, so please take a moment now and check – for yourself or your loved ones. It’s going to be another tough winter and getting this top-up could make all the difference.”
Over the last year our Greater Manchester campaign has generated £3m of additional income for people that can be directly evidenced, though the true figure is thought to be much higher.
As part of this work, the Combined Authority also researched the reasons why people tend not to claim. Barriers include perceived ineligibility and apprehension about the application process.
Karen adds: “We also discovered that some people are worried that claiming might impact other benefits they receive. However, qualifying for pension credit often prompts more financial support and people also find out there are other benefits they are entitled to but not claiming.”
People’s stories and how we can help if needed
Brian’s story: Brian’s wife had recently passed away and he had various chronic health issues including struggling with his mobility. As he was only in receipt of state pension, we completed a benefit entitlement check on Brian’s behalf. This highlighted a pension credit entitlement, as well as an entitlement to attendance allowance due to his mobility issues. Brian was awarded attendance allowance of £89.60 per week, £10 a week increase to his state pension, and £69 per week in pension credit. With the payments backdated, Brian became £9,000 per year better off.
Brenda’s story: Brenda had reached state pension age and was worried about how she was going to pay her bills. We completed a check, which showed an entitlement to pension credit of £60 per week. Our team helped Brenda to apply for the pension credit and also submitted a claim for housing benefit alongside this, which has put her a much better financial situation.
Frank’s story: Following a long-term hospital stay, Frank was referred to us for a benefit entitlement check. At the time his only income was his state pension. Due to his mobility issues, he was relying on family to friends to take him to appointments and get shopping as he couldn’t use public transport. We managed to maximise his income by applying for both attendance allowance and pension credit, meaning an increase in income of £124.80 per week. This enabled Frank to purchase his own small car and regain some of his independence.
Christina’s story: Christina was referred to us for help with an attendance allowance application. Christina was in receipt of state pension and a small amount of pension credit already. However, because she lives alone and no one claims carer’s allowance for her, it created a severe disability premium. We supported Christina to contact the pension service and following this her pension credit increased by an extra £60.00 per week and she also received attendance allowance. Christina said she wouldn’t have known about the increase in her pension credit without support and she is now better off £121.85 per week and doesn’t have to worry about putting her heating on.
Take action. Support’s available to you if you’d appreciate it.
You can apply to claim Pension Credit via the government's website at www.gov.uk/pension-credit.
Or contact our Money Advice Team. We’d be happy to help you or a loved one check that you’re getting all the entitlements you’re due. Phone us 01204 328000.
You can also contact the national charity Independent Age for assistance at www.independentage.org/get-support, or through their freephone helpline on 0800 319 6789.
Latest TAP4 issue
In this issue:
- Friendly faces in familiar places - Bolton Manbassadors
- Tips from Tom to help with rising energy costs
- Be aware of doorstep fraudsters
- Your home repairs - we're getting back on track
- Introducing Aptem
- How we're improving our complaints system
- Support for Bolton's street homeless - Hope for Change
- A fresh start - giving support to people leaving hospital
- Our staff talk you through Air Source Heat Pumps
- "Money Advice has been an absolute lifelife"
- Recognise your community heroes - Stars of the Community Awards 2022
- Providing opportunities for young people
Your latest Quarter Turn issue
Your latest Quarter Turn issue:
Each quarter, we send our printed Quarter Turn magazine to 4,800 customers living in our sheltered and extra care schemes, those receiving Careline and living in our general let and over 70s in our general let.