Pensioners urged to check their eligibility for pension credit
Older people in Formby are being urged to check their eligibility for pension credit after the Government announced a change in the rules that could cost couples up to £7,000 per year.
Changes to the pensioner benefit were recently announced and will come into effect on May 15th, but anyone already claiming will be unaffected.
Pension credit is available to any person of state pension age or older whose weekly income is less than £163 for a single person or £248.80 as a couple. If a pensioner's income is below that, pension credit will top it up to that level.
The Conservative Government recently announced that pensioners whose partners are below state pension age would no longer be eligible for pension credit. They would have to make a claim for the less generous universal credit as a couple instead. However, anyone already claiming pension credit would be unaffected as long as their circumstances remain unchanged.
About 2.5 million households are currently entitled to receive Pension Credit but around a third of those who are eligible do not claim it and could already be losing out on thousands of pounds a year. A benefits check can be carried out at www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators
Ravenmeols Labour Cllr Catie Page and Labour's Harington ward candidate Carol Richards are urging pensioners in Formby to check if they are entitled to Pension Credit and make a claim before the May deadline.
Cllr Page said: "These changes are yet another attack on our poorest residents and will leave many without enough funds to get by. It is essential that anyone who thinks they might qualify for Pension Credit makes a claim now so that their benefit levels are protected when the changes are introduced in May."
Labour activist Carol Richards, who will be the party's candidate for Harington ward for the Sefton Council elections in May, added: "If you're unsure whether or not you qualify contact Sefton Citizens' Advice or Age Concern Sefton. This is yet another example of the Government taking income from those who can least afford it. I will continue to fight these cruel Government cuts."
The latest date to claim pension credit is 13th August as claims can be backdated for three months.
Sefton Citizens' Advice can be contacted on 0344 493 0012. Age Concern Sefton are on 0151 236 4440.
Pic at top: Carol Richards (left) and Catie Page