A million pensioners could be missing out on up to £1,800 a year – are you one of them?

ALMOST a million pensioners could be missing out on a £1,800 a year retirement fund top-up and extra benefits and freebies.

Pension credit gives you extra cash if you're of state pension age and on a low income, and it unlocks many other benefits.

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said it's important to apply for the pension credit, as it can help you access additional financial support as well as extra cash.

The benefit is designed to help retirees on a low income by giving them extra money to help with living costs.

How much you get depends on your specific circumstances, including whether you have a partner, if you're disabled, and whether you have caring responsibilities for young children.

The maximum basic allowance is currently £177.10 for single people and £270.30 for couples. From April, this will rise to £182.60 and £278.70 respectively.

According to the latest data, 958,000 people are missing out on pension credit, with £1.8billion unclaimed.

That means, the average person of state pension age is losing £1,878.91 a year.

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"The reason this is so important is it's a gateway benefit,"Martin said on ITV's Martin Lewis Money Show Live.

If you're eligible for pension credit you'll also be able to get other benefits such asa free TV licence for over-75s.

You could apply for a council tax discount and the cold weather payment.

Martin added: "It's really important to trigger getting this."

How can I apply for pension credit?

According to official government figures, almost a million eligible people are missing out on Pension Credit worth £938.63 on average.

To qualify, either you (or your partner if you live with one) must have reached State Pension Age, which is currently set at 66.

You also need to live in England, Scotland or Wales

Your household income will be calculated when you apply, and if you fall short of the thresholds you will be awarded a top-up amount.

Your income includes:

  • State Pension
  • other pensions
  • earnings from employment and self-employment
  • most social security benefits, for example Carer’s Allowance

If you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments this will not affect your Pension Credit.

If you have more than £10,000, every £500 over £10,000 counts as £1 worth of weekly income.

You can start your application up to four months before you reach State Pension age.

You can apply any time after you reach State Pension age but your application can only be backdated by three months.

You can use the online service if:

  • you have already applied for your State Pension
  • there are no children or young people included in your application

You can apply online using the government service.

Alternatively, you can apply by phone on the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

To apply by post, print out and fill in the Pension Credit claim form or call the claim line to request one.

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