‘Out of touch!’ Pension Credit claim delays slammed as Britons wait for £3,300 support

Pension Credit: Yvonne on living on the breadline

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Pension Credit is designed to help low income pensioners with a valuable financial top up, but it has been significantly underclaimed. Consequently, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) took action with its Pension Credit Awareness Day, designed to draw attention to eligibility. 

Pension Credit claims saw a 275 percent increase following the Government’s efforts to raise take-up of the boost for low income pensioners.

This has been widely welcomed as progressing the right people towards the support they need.

However, the DWP has acknowledged teething problems with processing the new claims.

A statement from the Department said: “We currently aim to process claims within approximately 35 days from receipt, although this time can vary if we have to seek additional information from a customer in support of their claim. 

“However, following the successful launch of our campaign to increase take up of Pension Credit, we have received an unprecedented number of claims, which means some claims are experiencing further delays but we are processing claims as quickly as possible. 

“All successful claims and arrears are paid accordingly to ensure no one misses out.”

However, one expert has argued this response is not good enough, and that more needs to be done. 

Paul Brennan, benefits expert at Benefit Answers, argued the Government should have been prepared to handle higher volumes of claims.

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He said: “There are claims made in June that may not be paid until the Autumn or even later – and then once you’ve been granted Pension Credit you have to try to secure the Cost of Living payment. 

“There are huge delays at a time when struggling households need financial support today, not months down the line. 

“Why encourage people to claim then not have the resources in place to cope with an increase in demand?

“The Government 100 percent underestimated the likely response, and it shows how out of touch they are with the people who require their support.”

Mr Brennan asserted the attitude towards benefit claimants has changed since the pandemic.

He argued people are less likely to be deterred from claiming due to perceived social stigma of receiving benefits.

It means more people may claim the amount to which they are entitled without concern.

However, with this being said, the expert maintained the Government should be taking further action.

He added: “At the end of the day, if you’re going to encourage thousands of claims you should anticipate the response and make sure you have the resources to cope.”

Those who think they may be eligible for Pension Credit have been encouraged to apply.

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The DWP states the payment can be worth an average of £3,300 annually – showing how beneficial it could be. 

Britons can claim any time after reaching state pension age, but their application can only be backdated by three months.

It means individuals can get up to three months of Pension Credit in their first payment if they were eligible during that time. 

Britons will have to provide information such as:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about income, savings and investments one has
  • Bank account details to process payment. 

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Following the successful launch of our campaign to increase up-take of Pension Credit, we have received an unprecedented number of claims. 

“Additional resources are being deployed to ensure we deal with the increase as quickly as possible, while successful claims and arrears will be paid accordingly to ensure those who are entitled do not miss out.”

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