Thousands of pensioners urged to do simple check or risk missing out on £1,197 a year

THOUSANDS of pensioners who could be missing out on extra help that worth thousands of pounds a year.

Anyone getting state pension payments could be eligible for other benefits on top of the weekly payments.

The extra retirement cash could be worth £1,197 on average, and includes benefits like a reduction to council tax bills and top ups for those on low incomes.

Retirees could be eligible for the help regardless of whether they own their own home or not.

But homeowners are less likely to check, according to research by HUB Financial Solutions.

Simon Gray, boss of the financial firm urged over 65s to check what they can get to boost their income as the cost of living crisis deepens.

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He said: "With energy and food costs rising, it is important people struggling for income take up their benefits entitlement.

"State pensioners received a 3.1% rise in April but the inflation rate is 9% and many – including the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s own fiscal watchdog – are expecting further cost increases.

"Benefits are made available to help people in a wide range of circumstances, whether they are struggling for income, having to care for a relative, have an illness or disability, or are entitled to a reduction in council tax."

An online benefits calculator, which are offered by charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo, can help you check what you're entitled to.

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Here's the extra help you could be eligible for on top of the state pension.

Pension Credit

Pension credit is a common benefit that those on low incomes on state pension are missing out on

Nearly one million retirees are missing out on £1.8billion between them – that's nearly £2,000 each every year.

Typically the benefit for pensioners on low income is worth around £3,000 a year on average, and you can get extra help if you're a carer, disabled, or responsible for a child.

Read our guide to understand how much you can get depending on your circumstances.

Pension credit is also really important because it gives people over state pension age access to a whole raft of other benefits on top.

Even if you get only pennies from the benefit itself it's still worth claiming to get these extras, which include:

  • Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
  • Support if you own the property you live in
  • Council Tax Reductions
  • A free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
  • Help with NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, glasses and free transport costs for hospital appointments
  • Help with your heating costs including cold weather payments.

You can find out more about pension credit and apply online as long as you've claimed state pension and there are no children in the application.

Otherwise, you'll have to use the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or apply by post by printing out and filling in the Pension Credit claim form.

Carer's allowance

If you have caring responsibilities you could get carer's allowance to help out, worth over £3,000 a year if you get the maximum.

You need to be caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week but it doesn't need to be someone you're related to.

Generally, your earnings need to be £128 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses in order to qualify.

But if your earnings are sometimes more than £128 a week you might still be eligible if your average earnings are below the threshold.

There's other eligibility criteria for you and the person you're caring for and you can find out more in our guide, including how to apply.

Attendance allowance

This benefit helps with costs if you have a severe disability and need someone to help look after you.

It’s paid at two different rates and how much you'll get depends on the level of care that you need.

To apply you need to be both over State Pension Age and either physically or mentally disabled.

You get £60 per week if you need frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night.

You get a higher rate or £89.60 a week if you need help or supervision throughout both day and night, or if you’re terminally ill.

You need to apply by post and you can download an Attendance Allowance claim form here.

Council tax

If you receive the guarantee part of Pension Credit you might get all of your council tax bill paid in full.

However, council tax support rules vary depending on when you live so you need to check the rules with your local council.

Even if you don't get Pension Credit, you might be eligible for some support, particularly if you live alone, or if you're disabled, or if you have caring responsibilities.

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To find out what you might get, you need to enter your postcode on the government website.

Four in five households will get a £150 council tax rebate to help with rising bills – see if you're eligible.

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