Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert: TV licence advice – how to check pension credit

Martin Lewis appeared on ITV this morning addressing the BBC TV licence fee.

The company recently revealed it would axe free TV licences for all pensioners, instead means testing the benefit to save a whopping £500 million of tax payer money.

However, hard-off pensioners who are claiming pension credit – a benefit created by Gordon Brown to aide struggling elderly people – will still get their free TV licence.

However, a number of pensioners are not claiming state pension credit despite being eligible.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert: TV licence advice – how to check pension credit

Today Martin said: “My initial response was that they have chosen the benefit which is one of the worst claimed benefits, which I find somewhat frustrating.”

He hoped the BBC used their resources to communicate that people should be claiming state pension credit if they are eligible.

He said 1.3 million homes are eligible for the credit, but don’t claim it.

He said: “40 per cent of those eligible don’t claim it.

“Let’s do this together,” he said, “let’s make this a sea change. Lets talk about this, lets make this a national conversation.”

What is Pension Credit?

The credit is a supplement the UK pension and adds a little extra to the overall sum people get when they retire.

Pension Credit is split into two sections, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Guarantee Credit tops up people’s weekly income if it is below a certain threshold.

Savings Credit is an extra payment for those who put money aside for retirement, including pensions.

Martin Lewis state pension advice includes urging Britons to claim state pension credit. 

Martin Lewis also urged Britons to check if they are owned money by their energy provider.

The Money Saving Expert appeared on ITV to advise viewers on their personal finances.

He urge them to check now if their energy bill’s in credit.

Martin said: “If it is at this time of year, you’re likely due cash back.”

The expert went on: “If you’re one of about 70 per cent who pay for electricity or gas bills by direct debit, check now if you’re due credit back – the timing is perfect, so don’t delay in checking.”

Why might your energy bills be in credit?

Martin explained: “With most direct debit energy bills, you pay the same each month, to smooth out the cash flow.

“In other words, you overpay in the low-use summer months, to prevent bill shock in the costly winter months.

“Yet direct debits are usually an estimate of your usage, which means they can be, and often are, wrong – though as it’s cyclical it’s often tough to tell, until this point of the year.”

According to the expert, in around May your energy account will bottom out and be in debit, and as it can take a bit of time to filter into your bill, this is a spot-on moment to check.

It means everyone, regardless of when you switched, should usually be at the lowest point, and not in credit.

How check if you are in credit – and claim

Martin said: “If you’re in credit by over a month’s direct debit, then assuming you give regular meter readings (if not, do one first) or have a smart meter, check your energy account online or on the phone.

“To be a month’s worth in credit right now is a lot, so unless you’re with one of the few firms that pay you interest on it, politely request your provider explains why, and if its reason isn’t good enough, ask for the cash back.

The impact can be huge, as Claire tweeted: “@MartinSLewis Phoned my energy supplier as I was paying £147/mth and was £960 in credit. They reduced my DD to £80 and I got a £570 refund.”

Martin Lewis mortgage deals recently revealed how to find the cheapest deal. 

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