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Some benefits are means-tested. In other words, the amount of income and capital you have can affect your eligibility. Capital includes savings, investments, and property other than your own home.
Different means-testing rules apply, depending on whether you're under or over the minimum State Pension age. The information on this page only applies to people over the current minimum State Pension age (rising from 60 to 66 between 2010 and 2020). This information may also not apply to couples with one person under and the other over the minimum State Pension age, if they have to claim a new benefit called Universal Credit.
For Pension Credit, there is no upper limit of capital for you to be eligible. This means there is no maximum level of capital you can have in order to claim the benefit. Capital up to £10,000, and any income generated by that capital, are ignored. You will be treated as having ‘assumed income’ of £1 for every £500 (or part of £500) of capital you have above £10,000. If you have a partner, you will be assessed as a couple and the first £10,000 of your joint capital will be ignored.
The lower capital limit for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support is £10,000. If you have capital of up to £10,000 this, and any income you receive from this, are ignored. You will be treated as having assumed income on capital above £10,000 as set out above.
Unlike Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support also have an upper capital limit, which is £16,000. If you have more than this capital limit you will not be entitled to any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, unless you qualify for Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
Most types of capital are taken into account for means-testing. This includes:
Some types of capital are ignored. This includes the value of the property you live in, if you own any, and any lump sum payments you received after deferring your State Pension.
Some types of income are taken into account in full for means-tested benefits, but others, including Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, are completely ignored. Other types of income are disregarded in part.
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If you look after your partner, or a relative or friend who needs help because they are ill or disabled, then you are a carer and may be entitled to Carer's Allowance.
A download is a document (like a research report, a leaflet, or an application form) that can be transferred from our website to your computer. You can download a file, view it on your screen, print it, or save it to your computer.
PDF stands for ‘portable document format’.
Most downloads on this website are PDFs. We use this format to ensure that the document looks the same on everyone’s computer (website pages, by contrast, appear differently depending on how people have set their computer up).
Computers use a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDFs. If you try clicking on a link to download a PDF and it doesn’t work, you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader onto your computer.
The process is quite straightforward and is free.
PDFs cannot be changed.
Downloads will open on your computer in a new browser window.
Inside this window (below all your web browser menus), there will be a toolbar with options for you to print or save the document.
Close the browser window to return to the Age UK website.
We have made every effort to make our PDFs accessible to screen readers. Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Reader website to ensure that accessibility options are included in your version of the programme.
You can use Adobe Reader to read a PDF out loud with the following shortcut keys:
You can convert a PDF document into a text file for use with other software and hardware such as Braille printers by opening the PDF and choosing ‘Save as text’ from the File menu.
We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE and The Exilarch's Foundation
Age UK, Tavis House, 1-6 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9NA. Registered charity number 1128267. Company number 6825798. © Age UK Group and/or its National Partners (Age NI, Age Scotland and Age Cymru) 2014. All Rights Reserved
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