Final hours for hundreds of thousands of households to claim £301 free cash – are you missing out on £1,000s?

File photo dated 22/12/2016 of an elderly woman holding pound coins in her hands, in Poole, Dorset. Nearly four in 10 (39%) older people are not managing their money online and could therefore be at risk of financial exclusion, according to Age UK. Issue date: Wednesday May 3, 2023. PA Photo. A survey found a high level of support for in-person banking, with three-quarters (75%) of over-65s with a bank account wanting to undertake at least one banking task in person at a bank branch, building society or Post Office. Age UK commissioned a poll by Ipsos of more than 1,000 people aged 65 and over across Britain in March and April to make the findings. See PA story MONEY Banking. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

HUNDREDS of thousands of households have just hours left to claim a Government benefit and receive £301 free cash on top.

Over 800,000 pensioners are eligible for Pension Credit but not claiming it.

Pension Credit is worth thousands of pounds a year

Not only is the benefit worth thousands of pounds a year, it also qualifies you for the Government’s £900 cost of living payment.

The payment has been split into three instalments worth £301, £300 and £299 and the first has already been made to millions of people.

But you can still get the £301 payment if you make a claim for Pension Credit by the end of tomorrow (May 19).

Anyone who misses the deadline may still be able to get Pension Credit, but will lose out on the tax-free £301 cash.

What is Pension Credit and who is eligible?

Pension Credit is designed to boost your income if you don’t have lots of money coming in.

It is known as a “gateway” benefit as it opens up other forms of help, including cost of living payments, council tax discounts and a free TV Licence if you are 75 or over.

But hundreds of thousands aren’t claiming it when they could be – and it could see your income boosted by thousands of pounds.

There are two parts to Pension Credit, called Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. In some cases you might be eligible for both parts.

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a minimum amount while Savings Credit is a top-up for those who have a low income or savings.

This is how much the two parts are worth:

  • Guarantee credit – £201.05 a week if you’re single and £306.85 a week for married couples.
  • Savings credit – £15.94 a week for a single person or £17.84 a week for a married couple.

You might be able to get additional Pension Credit if you have a disability, caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.

For example, you can get either £61.88 a week or £72.31 a week for each child you’re responsible for.

You can only claim Pension Credit if you live in England, Wales or Scotland and have reached state pension age, currently 66.

You also can’t have too much income or savings.

How do I apply?

You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.

You can make an application on the Government website or by ringing the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you’ll need to be with them when they do.

You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about any income, savings and investments you have
  • Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually 3 months ago or the date you reached state pension age)

You can also get help with the application process through charities and non-profit organisations such as Independent Age.

What is the cost of living payment?

The £900 cost of living payment is being issued to millions of people to help them cover essentials such as energy and food.

The money has been split into three instalments worth £301, £300 and £299.

The first should already have been paid to all those eligible, while the remaining two will be paid in autumn this year and spring 2024.

If you haven’t received the first payment, you can approach the Department for Work and Pensions or HMRC to find out how to claim.

There’s two additional cost of living payments worth £150-£300 and £150 that will be made to pensioners and people with disabilities too.

In some cases, you might be eligible for all three payments, collectively worth £1,350.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]