Pensioners urged to check if they're entitled to £299 cost of living payment

The Department of Work and Pensions began rolling out the payments to households on low incomes on 6 February.

A man's hand holding £50 and £20 pound notes and pound coins
Pensioners have been urged to check if they are eligible for a cost of living payment. (Getty)

Charities have warned pensioners that “time is running out” to check if they are eligible to receive a £299 cost of living payment.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) began rolling out the payments to households on low incomes on 6 February. It is the third of up to three payments totalling up to £900 paid to eligible households on means-tested benefits over 2023/24, and comes as part of a support package that has been helping households since autumn 2021.

However, elderly people who are not receiving pension credit could miss out on this final payment before the 22 February deadline. Charities have told Yahoo News UK that “there is still a window of opportunity” to sign up for pension credit so that the payment can be received.

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Who is entitled to pension credit?

According to the MoneySavingExpert website, more than three million households are eligible for pension credit. However, it is estimated that around 880,000 do not claim because they don’t realise that they could be entitled to it.

To qualify for pension credit you should live in the UK and have reached state pension age – 66 years old for both men and women. If you are single, your weekly income should be below £201.05, or £306.85 if you are in a couple.

However, if you are in a couple, both people must have reached the state pension age. You are considered a couple if you live together, and therefore you do not need to be married or in a civil partnership. One partner applies and provides income and savings details for both partners.

Department for Work and Pensions on 5th February 2024 in London, United Kingdom. The Department for Work and Pensions, DWP, is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. As the UK’s biggest public service department it administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability and ill health benefits.
The Department of Work and Pensions began rolling out the payments to households on low incomes on 6 February. (PA)

What have charities said?

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, urged people “to claim without delay, so they don’t miss out”. She added: “Many people often think if you have some savings, or a small pension there’s no point applying but that’s often not the case. The sooner people act, the sooner they will find out if they are eligible for some of the additional financial help, and this could be life-changing for them.”

Head of policy and influencing at Independent Age, Morgan Vine, told Yahoo News UK that it is “vital everyone receives all the financial support they’re entitled to”. She said: “If someone qualifies for pension credit before the deadline, they will receive the final cost of living payment worth £299, additional weekly income top-ups, and can be eligible for other financial support.”

Jackie Spencer, head of money and pensions policy at the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS), revealed that one in three eligible people still aren’t claiming pension credit – which could open up the door for other benefits on top of the cost of living payment.

She advised: “If you’re approaching state pension age, or you’ve already reached it, check whether you can claim this extra income. Even if it’s only a small amount, it might also help you qualify for other benefits.”

Close-up view of an elderly woman's hands typing on a laptop at home and a mobile phone lying next to her
Pensioners who are eligible for pension credit should ensure they receive it as quickly as possible. (Getty)

Who else is entitled to cost of living payments?

The cost of living payment is intended for households on low incomes. Eligible households one means-tested benefit over 2023.24 are all eligible for the support package that was introduced in autumn 2021.

The third cost of living payment is for those on benefits – and must receive on of the following:

  • Universal Credit

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

  • Income-related employment and support allowance

  • Income support

  • Working tax credit

  • Child tax credit

  • Pension credit

Households receiving tax credits only will receive payments from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between 16 and 22 February. The payments will be sent out automatically and recipients do not need to apply to receive them.