WIRRAL MP Margaret Greenwood is urging constituents who have reached State Pension age to check if they are eligible for pension credit.

The income-related benefit is made up of two parts: ‘Guarantee Credit’ and ‘Savings Credit’.

The Government's website states that Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it is below £173.75 (for single people) or £265.20 (for couples). You may still be eligible if you have savings, a pension or your own home.

Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, for example a pension.

The charity Independent Age estimates that 1,302 households in Wirral West were missing out on an estimated £2.9 million in unclaimed Pension Credit in 2018-19.

If you are in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, you may also qualify for a £140 Warm Home Discount.

According to Independent Age, 820 older people in Wirral West missed out on £115,000 of Warm Home Discount towards their energy bills last year because they weren’t getting Pension Credit.

The charity says that Pension Credit has the lowest uptake of any income-related benefit and hasn’t increased above 64% over the past 10 years.

Independent Age is now calling for the government to come forward with a new written strategy on Pension Credit uptake to tackle this urgent issue and ensure that everyone entitled to Pension Credit receives it alongside the other vital entitlements – including the Warm Home Discount – that accompany it.

Pension Credit also acts as a gateway to a free TV licence for over 75s, free NHS prescriptions, council tax support, free eye tests and more.

Margaret Greenwood MP said: "I was really shocked to learn that more than 1,300 households in Wirral West missed out on almost £3 million in unclaimed Pension Credit in 2018-19.

"Many people are missing out on support that they are entitled to.

"It's extremely important that anyone who thinks that they might be eligible for Pension Credit checks to see if they can claim it."

Everyone who qualifies for the Warm Home Discount scheme will receive a £140 contribution towards their energy bills over the winter period. This will not be paid to people directly, but added as credit to their electricity account at some point between October and April.

More information on Pension Credit and eligibility is available here: www.gov.uk/pension-credit.

More information on the Warm Home Discount Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme.

You can also call Citizens Advice Wirral on 0808 278 7848 or Wirral Age UK, 0151 482 3456, for help.