Advice: Can I get any extra help to top up my state pension?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.
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By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB

Q: I’m a pensioner aged 72 living alone. I have £3,000 in savings, no mortgage and pay rates of £500 a year. I’m in good health but I’m struggling with the cost of living as my state retirement pension is only £90 per week. Can I get any extra help?

A: Pension Credit is an income related benefit for pensioners. Guarantee Credit is for those who have reached the minimum qualifying age (the qualifying age is gradually increasing to 65 in line with the increase in State Pension age for women). Savings Credit is for those aged 65 or over.

Not everyone will collate enough National Insurance contributions to guarantee they are entitled to the full State Pension. If this is the case, you could be entitled to Pension Credit, which comes in two parts: Guaranteed Credit and Savings Credit.

Guaranteed Credit ensures anyone who is on a low income will get a minimum income of £148.35 a week or £226.50 per week for a couple.

To make matters even better, you don’t pay tax on Pension Credit.

It is worth noting that if you get a minimum of 50p Guaranteed Credit per week you will get help in the form of Housing Benefit for rent and rates.

If you or your partner are aged 65 or over you could be entitled to the Savings Credit element if either of the following applies to you:

• you’re single and your total weekly income (such as pensions, savings, earnings and investments) is between £120.35 and £190.35 a week

• you have a partner and your joint weekly income (such as pensions, savings, earnings and investments) is between £192.00 and £278.20 a week

Please call your local CAB and arrange for a benefit check to be carried out.

• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.adviceguide.org.uk

Call Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau, Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on 028 9085 2271 or email enewtownabbey@citizensadvice.co.uk