MARTIN Lewis has warned couples who claim benefits about a new rule during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
Pensioners and people approaching retirement age could lose out in pension credit and housing benefit.
ITV Pensioners and people approaching retirement age could lose out in pension credit and housing benefit if they don’t apply for the support
Couples applying for either benefit for the first time will only be paid if both parties have reached state pension age.
This means if someone who is about reach state pension age with a partner of working age, they will no longer be able to claim for pension credits.
Charity Age UK estimates that people could lose out on £7,000 a year under the new rules and it’s urging couples to check their eligibility now.
But if you applied before May 15 and your payments will be protected as long as your circumstances don’t change.
What is pension credit and how do I get it? Pension credit is an income-related benefit made up of two parts – guarantee credit and savings credit.
Guarantee credit tops up your weekly income to £163 for single people or £248.80 for couples if it’s below this amount.
Savings credit is an extra payment for people who have saved some money towards their retirement, for example a pension.
Under this you can get up to £13.40 a week if you’re single or up to £14.99 if you’re in a couple.
You might get more if you’re a carer, severely disabled, responsible for a child or young person, or have certain housing costs.
To qualify you must live in England, Scotland or Wales and you or your partner must have reached state pension age.
The rules are changing for new claimaints from May 15 when you’ll both need to have reached state pension age.
To apply, call the pension credit helpline on 0800 99 1234.
Backdated claims can be made if you missed the May 15 deadline, but these must be submitted by August 13.
Martin said: “The deadline was this Wednesday 15 May, but you can still backdate a claim for three months, so in practice there’s time.
“The issue is that if you do it now you get pension credit, if you do it and don’t make the deadline you get universal credit – and in every case that pays less, in fact some may lose out on up to £7,000 per year.
“Pension credit is a means-tested benefit aimed at supporting retired people on low incomes and can be worth thousands of pounds a year – yet a staggering 1.3million don’t claim it.”
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He continued: “To qualify, you must live in England, Scotland or Wales, and have reached state pension age.
“The quickest way to claim is to call the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 and it will fill in the application form for you and remember you want to try to claim for pension credit under the backdating not universal credit.
Up until now, couples could claim credits of £255.25 per week if one of them had reach retirement age but since May 15 both people will have to be of retirement age to apply.
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