taken with previous estimates of entitlement, indicate that over 80
per cent of the poorest pensioners are now having their income topped
up to the guaranteed level, which is at least£105 per week - rising
Amongst single women pensioners, who tend to be poorer than men of
the same age, the indications are that as many as 90% of those
eligible for the guarantee are already receiving their entitlement.
The figures, which have been released today by the Department for
Work and Pensions, show there are 2.08 million pensioner households
(or 2.46 million individuals) currently benefiting from Pension
Credit guarantee awards. Estimates of eligibility suggest that the
total number of pensioner households entitled to this part of Pension
Credit stands at 2.35 million.
This high level of take-up means Pension Credit spending is projected
to exceed£6bn in 2004/05 - higher than forecast in the last
Work and pensions secretary Alan Johnson said: 'These
figures show beyond doubt that Pension Credit, is delivering for our
'There are now over three million pensioners in receipt of Pension
Credit. The next stage is to concentrate effort on increasing take-up
among those in harder to reach groups - especially those who have
never been entitled to extra help before. We have a number of
initiatives to ensure the message gets out to all those who need to
'These include the Race to Improve project, to target ethnic minority
groups, and the new Pension Service Partnership Fund, which provides
funding for schemes run by not-for-profit organisations around the
'To ensure that pensioners do not lose out we have a twelve month
backdating provision, so many new claimants could be in line for a
lump sum payment, averaging around£1,000.'
Most of the pensioners getting Pension Credit guarantee - and some
other households - also get reward for their savings. The total
number of households benefiting from Pension Credit is now 2.65
million (3.22 million individuals). The average weekly award is
£41.67 and there were 1.99 million households (2.41 million
individuals) now receiving more money than under the previous system.
Pension Credit has been payable since 6th October 2003. To find out
if you may be entitled, ring the freephone Pension Credit application
line: on 0800 99 1234. There is a textphone service for those who
have speech or hearing difficulties on 0800 169 0133.
1. Pension Credit progress reports are published quarterly. Figures
have been rounded to the nearest 10,000.
2. To ensure that people do not lose out, customers whose
applications are successful will have their entitlement backdated 12
months or to the date of entitlement if this is later.
3. Pension Credit guarantees everyone aged 60 and over an income of
at least£105.45 for single people and£160.95 for couples. From
April, these amounts rise to£109.45 and£167.05.
4. Extra amounts will be added for those who have relevant housing
costs, severe disabilities or caring responsibilities. Rewards for
those who have saved are also additional.
5. Pension Credit application line on 0800 99 1234. There is a
textphone service for those who have hearing difficulties on 0800 169