Like millions of retirees, Londoner Veronica Fenn, 82, is trying everything to save as the cost of living soars. “I have little tricks like heating my coffee in the microwave instead of using the kettle, and limiting how often I use my oven,” she says.
Veronica used to work in the fashion industry and uses her experience to save more money. “I’ve developed an eye for good fabric which helps me buy clothes from charity shops.”
She also bought a pair of glasses for £2 and fitted her corrective lenses in the frames. “Going to the optician would have cost me 50 times more.”
When it’s cold, she stacks sweaters instead of using heaters. “Having a smart meter really helps me because I can see how much money my electricity costs each day.”
Like many retirees, Veronica never thought she could get more support from the state.
She didn’t even know that the state pension supplement Pension credit existed until a friend noticed she was struggling and told her to campaign for charity Independent Age, who steered her in the right direction.
Veronica is far from alone. More than 850,000 of the poorest pensioners are ineligible for a valuable means-tested state pension called the Supplementary Pension Credit.
This brings the incomes of the poorest pensioners to £182.60 if single or £278.70 for couples, in the 2022/23 tax year.
Applicants must have reached the retirement age of 66. They may be eligible even if I have savings or income. Even low-income homeowners may qualify.
Some may get extra money if they have other responsibilities and costs, such as caregiving.
Severely disabled people can receive an additional £67.30 per week, if they claim Attendant’s Allowance, the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the daily living component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
READ MORE: State pensioners set for ‘difficult times’ – could you get £3,330?
The pension credit acts as a gateway to other support, including housing benefit for tenants, mortgage interest support for landlords, council tax reduction, free TV license for older age 75, help with NHS dental care, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments and heating. support too.
Today, Veronica wants to raise awareness so that more retirees can access it. “Seeking help doesn’t come naturally to my generation, but it’s so important that people know what support is out there.”
His experience has shown him that the state pension is simply not enough for people to live on, especially today when the cost of living is skyrocketing.
“Pension credit is vitally important to me, but even with this essential supplement I still need to save money where I can.”
DO NOT MISS :
Meet Ilona Richards – Britain’s most frugal pensioner [REVEAL]
A retiree shares his top tips for ‘saving thousands of dollars on a supermarket’ [GUIDE]
Money-making tips: One option lets pensioner earn up to £290 a day [ANALYSIS]
Veronic says a lot more could be done to support older people, but adds: “You can still enjoy life while saving money. It’s so important to wake up and think “I’m going to do this today”.
Claimants can apply for a pension credit up to four months before reaching the statutory retirement age. It pays to act quickly, as requests can only be backdated by three months.
Pension Credit has the lowest take-up of all income-related benefits, with £1.7billion going unclaimed each year.
Morgan Vine, head of policy and influence at Independent Age, said it was ‘outrageous’: ‘Too many people have to choose to heat their homes or buy food, despite being eligible to financial aid.”