BENEFITS EXPERT: You could miss out on £650 of support if you’re not quick

Firstly a reminder for any readers who have reached and claimed their State Retirement Pension but who also may be entitled to benefits such as Pension Credit (either Guaranteed element, Savings element or both) or Housing Benefit but who may not have claimed these.

"To get the cost of living increase you must have been entitled to and receiving these benefits on or before May 25, 2022."
"To get the cost of living increase you must have been entitled to and receiving these benefits on or before May 25, 2022."

These benefits can be automatically backdated for three months; to get the cost of living increase you must have been entitled to and receiving these benefits on or before May 25, 2022. Therefore you have less than a week to check entitlement and make a claim. Failing to do so means you may miss out on £650 of support.

Q. I currently receive New Style Employment and Support Allowance, I have received this in payment for about two years and I am in the Support Group.

I also receive PIP for daily living, I own my home outright and live alone due to a recent separation.

I have recently also taken a drawdown of a private pension, this will get me a lump sum of £45,000 (I know this will be taxed and I can claim this back) and also provide a monthly pension award of £250 per month.

I’ve seen a financial advisor concerning how best to invest my lump sum but there are no current major expenditure plans I will be using the money for.

Will this affect my current benefits and could I also be entitled to other help following my separation?

A. Your NS ESA and PIP are not means-tested benefits so the savings won’t affect payment of these benefits.

An occupational or private pension can affect NS ESA but only if the weekly pension amount exceeds £85/week.

If it does (it doesn’t in your case) then NS ESA reduces by 50 pence for every £1 over the starting threshold of £85.

In relation to other help you may qualify for, means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit or council tax reduction aren’t applicable as you have savings in excess of £16,000.

You will qualify for a 25% reduction of your annual council tax bill if you are the only adult in your property so if you haven’t already, notify your council of the changes in your household.

This 25% reduction is not means-tested, you simply need to prove you are the only adult in the property.