Pension Credit is designed to assist low income pensioners by providing a boost to weekly income. However, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed almost 60,000 claims made between April and August were waiting to be processed by October 26.
Typically, during a tax year, some 85,500 new Pension Credit claims are received.
But between April and August of this year, a total of 111,550 claims were submitted – suggesting claims have spiked in response to the cost of living crisis.
Out of the 111,550 claims, 37,438 were successful with 15,580 rejected, implying 71 percent of claims are successful.
It also means over 58,000 claims made during this period are currently stuck in a backlog.
READ MORE: OVO Energy customers may save up to £100 by cutting use at peak times
“In response to an FOI request, the DWP itself acknowledges that there is ‘currently a backlog of Pension Credit claims that still require a decision to be made’.
“It is vital the DWP gets its house in order and processes these outstanding claims as soon as possible.
“It would be criminal if a campaign designed to boost take-up of Pension Credit was successful, only for this success to be undermined because the Government had failed to build sufficient capacity to deal with this extra demand.”
There is also a lingering issue when it comes to Pension Credit – the numbers of people who are claiming.
Although the DWP has stated there has been a jump in those claiming the benefit, there remains a huge shortfall.
READ MORE: Top 10 high interest easy access accounts right now
This could make a substantial difference to the finances of struggling, low-income older people, particularly given the cost of living crisis.
Pension Credit is also considered to be a gateway benefit, as it opens eligible people up to a wider range of support.
This can include a free TV licence for over 75s, help with NHS costs, and assistance with housing costs.
The cost of living support scheme could act as a further incentive for low income pensioners to submit a claim.
Successful applications made by December 18, 2022 could qualify a person for a £324 cost of living payment.
This is because claims can be backdated for up to three months, provided the relevant entitlement conditions are met during that period.
A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We want to ensure pensioners receive all the support to which they are entitled and the success of our recent Pension Credit campaign is helping drive the volume of Pension Credit claims being submitted to an all-time high.
“Additional resources are being deployed to ensure we deal with the increase as quickly as possible, while successful claims and arrears will be paid accordingly to ensure those who are entitled do not miss out.”