What is Pension Credit
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that comes in two parts and you may be eligible for one or both:
- Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level
- Savings Credit is extra money if you’ve got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. (You won’t be eligible for Savings Credit if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.)
About 4 million older people are entitled to Pension Credit, yet about 1 in 3 of those eligible are still not claiming it. Don’t be put off if you discover you’re only eligible for a small amount of Pension Credit. It’s your passport to other benefits, such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.
What you'll get with Pension Credit
Guarantee Credit will top up your weekly income to:
- £155.60 if you’re single
- or £237.55 if you’re a couple.
If you qualify for Savings Credit, you can get up to:
- £13.07 extra per week if you’re single
- or £14.75 if you’re a couple.
Watch: How Pension Credit could help you
This short video explains what Pension Credit is, and talks through the many extra benefits which come with Pension Credit, such as free dental treatment, help with the cost of glasses, council tax and rent, as well as an extra payment when the weather is cold.
Who can claim Pension Credit
Can you claim Guarantee Credit?
The minimum age to claim Guarantee Credit is gradually rising. In April 2016, it's 63 years. See our chart below to find out when you might become eligible.
As long as you meet the eligible age, you may be able to claim pension credit if:
- your weekly income is less than £155.60 if you’re single, or £237.55 if you’re a couple
- you have a severe disability
- you are a carer
- you have to pay housing costs like a mortgage
Eligible age for claiming Pension Credit
|Date of birth||When you can claim Pension Credit
|6 January 1953 to 5 February 1953
||6 November 2015
|6 February 1953 to 5 March 1953
||6 January 2016
|6 March 1953 to 5 April 1953
||6 March 2016
|6 April 1953 to 5 May 1953
||6 July 2016
|6 May 1953 to 5 June 1953
||6 November 2016
|6 June 1953 to 5 July 1953
||6 March 2017
If you were born before these dates, you have already reached the eligible age to claim pension credit. If you were born afterwards, visit GOV.UK to calculate when you will reach the qualifying age using their State Pension calculator.
Can you claim Savings Credit?
If you’re 65 or over you may also qualify for Savings Credit, but you won’t be eligible for Savings Credit if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. Only those who reached State Pension age before this date may be eligible. If you’re a couple and one of you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you may be able to claim.
There isn’t a savings limit for Pension Credit, but if you have over £10,000 this will affect the amount you receive.
The perks of claiming Pension Credit
Pension Credit doesn’t just top up your income. It’s also your passport to lots of other savings.
Here are 6 perks of claiming Pension Credit:
- It’s unlikely you’ll have to pay Council Tax (unless other people live with you).
- You’ll get free NHS dental treatment, and you can claim help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital.
- You’ll get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 when the temperature is 0°C or below for 7 days in a row.
- If you rent your home, you may get your rent paid in full by Housing Benefit.
- If you own your home, you may be eligible for help with mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges.
- If you’re a carer, you may get an extra amount known as Carer Premium, or Carer Addition if it’s paid with Pension Credit. This is worth up to £34.60 a week.
You have nothing to lose by applying, but potentially a lot to gain.
How to claim Pension Credit
Call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 (textphone: 0800 169 0133). It’ll be quicker if you have the following details to hand:
- National Insurance number
- Bank account details
- Information about your income, savings and investments
- Information about your pension (if you have one)
- Details of any housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
- Partner’s details (if you have a partner)
Speak to your local Age UK for help with claiming Pension Credit. To find your nearest Age UK you can phone Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65 or use our online search.
Helping you claim Pension Credit
Tony, 78, had no idea he could claim Pension Credit until he spoke to Age UK.
‘I retired a few years ago and me and my wife managed fine on my State Pension and her wages. But when she retired, we really started to struggle, especially as she doesn’t get a full pension.
‘I called Age UK Advice and they gave me the details of my local Age UK. They told me to come in for a benefits check so I did, although I didn’t think I’d be eligible for anything. So I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d be eligible for Pension Credit. She said I just had to call up to apply, so I did that as soon as I got home.
‘As a result, we’re £168 a week better off. It’s really made a difference to our finances and peace of mind. It’s also meant I could stop looking for a part-time job. I wasn’t relishing the idea of having to return to work but didn’t think there were any other options. Our small amount of savings was almost down to nothing and I didn’t know how we’d manage.
‘I’m just so glad I called Age UK when I saw their number. I’d tell anyone else to do the same – you don’t know what you might be able to claim.’
6 Pension Credit myths
Many people mistakenly believe they can’t get Pension Credit because they don’t know the full facts. Do any of these apply to you?
1. ‘I own my own home, so I won’t get anything'
Owning your own home doesn’t rule you out. Many older homeowners make a successful claim for Pension Credit.
2. ‘I can’t claim because I’ve got some savings’
Having savings or another pension doesn’t necessarily rule you out. In fact, if you’re over 65, you might be entitled to extra money for having saved some money for retirement.
3. ‘I’ll only be turned down’
Actually, nearly 9 out of 10 claims are successful and 2.5 million households across the UK receive Pension Credit.
4. ‘It’s not worth it’
Even if you only get a little extra each week, receiving Pension Credit may mean you’ll get money for other things, such as rent, council tax and the cost of keeping your home warm.
5. ‘It’s too difficult to make a claim’
It only takes one phone call and you won’t have to fill in a form.
6. ‘We’ve already been told we don’t qualify'
Benefits rates change every year, as can your finances, so it’s worth making a new claim every year.