THE chairman of Lochore and District Old People's Welfare Council is reminding local senior citizens about impending changes to the criteria for Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is a special entitlement for people on the lowest levels of the State Pension which essentially tops up their SP to a minimum of £167.25 for a single person and £225.25 for a couple living together.

And Joe Paterson said this week that people should remember that the criteria changes after May 14.

He said: "After May 14 if a person is in what is called a 'mixed age couple', in other words one person is of pensionable age and the other is younger than their State Pension Age, they will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit unless you already have submitted a claim before that date.

"Furthermore Pension Credit is a 'passporting benefit' which means that it acts as a qualifying benefit for other forms of assistance, but as they won't be able to claim Pension Credit until both in the couple are of pensionable age, then they will miss out."

The passported benefits include Cold Weather Payments, maximum help with Housing Benefit, maximum help with Council Tax reduction and assistance for those affected by the bedroom tax.

Added Joe: "Without Pension Credit people will not have access to to claim Social Fund Funeral Payments and they may not be entitled to the warm home discount.

"In place of Pension Credit the UK Government has decided that the younger partner in a 'mixed age couple' should claim Universal Credit instead.

"Age Scotland believes that this move is deeply unjust and with their partners, have called for the decision to be reversed.

"However, the UK Government remains committed to this policy for the time being and they want to ensure that every older couple who is eligible to claim on or before May 14 does just that."

People who want advice can call Age Scotland's free Helpline on 0800 1244222.