Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for South Scotland, is urging all pensioners to check whether they are eligible to claim pension credit.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of 2 parts - Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples). Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, for example a pension.
Notably, pension credit claimants are also exempt from paying TV licence fees. After the BBC’s decision to scrap free TV licences for over 75s, pension credit could help ensure that elderly people in lower incomes do not have to pay an extra £154.40 for their TV licence. Claimants are also entitled to free dental care as well as exemptions on their council tax.
Currently the benefit has been under-used. Research from the UK Government has highlighted that over 60% of those who are eligible have not claimed pension credit. The Government’s studies have also shown that 9 in 10 applicants for the benefit are successful.
Currently, the UK Government is allowing applicants to backdate their application. The deadline for backdated applications is August 13th this year.
Mrs. Ballantyne, who is her party’s spokesperson for social security, is urging anyone in Midlothian who is of state pension age to check whether they are eligible for the benefit.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
"With the deadline for backdated pension credit applications fast approaching, it’s worrying to see that it’s been massively under-utilised as over 60% of people eligible for pension credit currently aren’t claiming it.
“Although the BBC took the decision to introduce fees for pensioners, the fact of the matter is that we have protections in place in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not affected.
“This is why I’d like to encourage all state age pensioners in Midlothian to check whether this could apply to them. It’s incredibly important that we address the issues that elderly people are facing, and a big part of this is ensuring that people are accessing the help that is currently available to them.”