There are sources of support available that can help you if you are struggling, and it is important to explore all avenues, including additional financial support you may be entitled to.
Pension Credit is a means tested benefit that tops up the state pension for older people who have income that is below a certain level. You may be entitled to Pension Credit, even if you have other income, savings, or your own home.
There are two parts to this that may be applicable – ‘Guarantee’ and ‘Savings’ elements:
- Guarantee Pension Credit tops up your weekly income if it is below a certain level.
- Savings Pension Credit is an extra payment to reward people who have prepared for their retirement by having some extra savings or income.
You would only be entitled to the ‘savings’ part if you, and your partner, if you have one, reached pension age before the 6th of April 2016.
When you apply for Pension Credit, your income is calculated – jointly if you have a partner. Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to £182.60 if you are single, and any joint weekly income to £278.70.
Income that is considered includes state pension; other pensions; earnings from employment and self-employment; and most social security benefits.
Savings are considered, however if you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments, this will not affect your Pension Credit.
You can still apply if you have savings above this level, however every £500 you have beyond this is counted as £1 of income when your Pension Credit is calculated.
Other Eligibility Criteria
If your income is higher, you may still be eligible if you have a disability; you care for someone; you have savings; or have housing costs.
You can claim Pension Credit whether you are working or not, and do not have to have paid any National Insurance contributions.
If you are successful in your application, you may be entitled to a whole range of additional financial support.
Additional Support with the Cost-of-Living
Advice Direct Scotland offer a range of advice and support services and can help if you are struggling with the cost-of-living. The team can look at any benefits or other sources of financial support that you may be entitled to and help you apply. We can look at your income and outgoings and make recommendations tailored to your individual circumstances.
It is a good idea to have information to hand, including your National Insurance number, an idea of how much money you have coming in each week, and details of any savings and investments that you have. Having a list of your outgoings handy is also a good idea.
Advice on Energy Matters
The team at energyadvice.scot can also assist if you are struggling to get through to your supplier. Specialist advisers are available on 0808 196 8660, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm or by visiting www.energyadvice.scot.
Once you get the chance to speak to the energy company, you can enquire about any hardship funds that they may have available to support customers who are struggling with energy costs.