Pension Credit warning: Claimants may be taken to court by the DWP – why?

Pensions: Money Box caller talks impact of age differences

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Pension Credit awards eligible claimants with extra money to help with their living costs if they are over state pension age and on a low income. Where the money is awarded, claimants will need to keep the Government informed of any changes in their circumstances.

This includes changes in the claimants’ circumstances as well as their partners.

It is important to report these changes quickly and accurately as the claim may be stopped or reduced if this is not done.

This is important to note as a claimant can be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if they give wrong information or do not report a change in their circumstances.

The changes that need to be reported include moving to a new address, starting or stopping work and going into hospital among others.

To report a change, claimants can call the Pension Service Helpline on 0800 731 0469.

Pension Credit tops up income up to £177.10 per week for single claimants, or £270.30 for couples.

To be eligible for the support, claimants must be living in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached their State Pension age.

Additional payments may be awarded to those living with severe disability, caring for an adult or are responsible for children.

Pension Credit claimants may also get help with particularly cold weather, NHS costs and TV licence costs.

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These rates and levels of support will be increasing over the coming months. Recently, the DWP confirmed benefit payments will rise by 3.1 percent in April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

This means, from April 2022, single claimants will get £182.66, while coupled claimants will get £278.70.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, confirmed a number of benefit changes in November.

She said: “I have concluded my statutory annual review of benefit and State Pension rates. The new rates will apply in the tax year 2022/23 and come into effect on April 11, 2022.

“The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the relevant reference period (the year to September 2021) was 3.1 percent, and I can confirm that benefits will increase in line with that.

“This is consistent with the use of this index since 2011. The weekly earnings limit in Carer’s Allowance will also be increased by 3.1 percent.

“In line with the Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2021, State Pension rates will rise in line with CPI of 3.1 percent.

“I also confirm that the local housing allowance rates for 2022/23 will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020/21.”

Claims for Pension Credit can be started up to four months before a person reaches their state pension age.

Retirees can apply for Pension Credit at any point after reaching their state pension age but their claim can only be backdated by up to three months.

This means claimants can get up to three months of Pension Credit in their first payment if they were eligible during that time.

Claims for Pension Credit can be made online through the Government’s website or by phone.

When applying, claimants will need to have certain information at the ready, such as their National Insurance number and financial details.

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