What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit and it has two parts:
- Guarantee credit: a top-up for those on a low income; and
- Savings credit: an extra payment for people who have saved some money towards their retirement or if your income is higher than the basic State Pension.
Am I eligible for Pension Credit?
The qualifying age for Pension Credit is gradually increasing to 66 in line with the increase in the State Pension age.
You can use gov.uk’s Pension Credit calculator to find out when you’ll reach Pension Credit age.
To see if you are eligible for Pension Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions will look at:
- Your income: the money you and your partner have coming in, including earnings, benefits and occupational pensions;
- Your savings and your partner’s savings; and
- Your circumstances: such as your age, the ages and size of your family, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help you with the rent.
Changes to Pension Credit
The government has made some changes to the way Pension Credit is calculated:
You won’t be eligible for the Savings Credit part if you reach State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016. If you reached State Pension age before 6th April 2016 and were claiming Pension Credit before this date, you will continue to receive the payments.
Couples – if one of you is working-age
Currently, if you are in a couple and one of you has reached Pension Credit age, you can claim Pension Credit. However, this will change as ‘mixed age couples’ will have to claim the less generous Universal Credit benefit instead once it is rolled out fully across the country.
If you are the working-age partner, you will also have to meet the work-related requirements in order for you to get Universal Credit.
If you’re in a mixed-age couple and you’re already getting Pension Credit at the changeover date when Universal Credit is fully rolled out, you won’t be affected and will be allowed to carry on getting it.
Myths about Pension Credit
- I don’t think I’ll be eligible for Pension Credit – Don’t rule yourself out. 2.7 million pensioner households already receive Pension Credit. And up to 1.8 million more could be entitled but haven’t yet claimed.
- I’ll get so little it’s not worth me claiming – Even if you only get a little extra each month, being in receipt of Pension Credit may help you get money for other things, such as rent, council tax or towards the cost of keeping your house warm.
- It’s difficult to claim Pension Credit – It only takes one free phone call and you won’t have to fill in a form.
- I have some savings so I won’t get anything – Having some savings or another pension doesn’t rule you out – around three quarters of people who get Pension Credit have saved something.
- I own my own home so I won’t get anything – Owning your own home doesn’t rule you out. Nearly half of pensioners who get Pension Credit own their own home.
How can I apply for Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is administered by the Pension Service, part of the Department for Work and Pensions. You can apply for Pension Credit by calling the Pension Credit Claim Line.
If you claim by phone, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support at the same time. The Pension Service may take the necessary information and contact your Local Authority, which has the responsibility for administrating these. If they do not, you should contact your Local Authority about making a claim.
Claiming via paper application
You can use a paper application if you’re unable to make a claim by ‘phone. You could get a family member of friend to telephone the Pension Credit Claim Line and ask for a paper copy to be posted to your home.
How much Pension Credit might I 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.
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:
- £13.20 extra per week if you’re single
- or £14.90 if you’re a couple.
You’re treated as a couple if you live with your husband, wife or partner. You don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership.
Use Gov.uk’s Pension Credit Calculator to work out how much you could receive.
Additional Pension Credit in special circumstances
You may get a higher amount of Pension Credit if you’re disabled, or if you have caring responsibilities or if you’re responsible for paying certain housing costs, including mortgage interest payments.
Where can I get benefits advice?
It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help guide you through the process such as;
- Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) – provide advice to anyone in Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service – provide advice to people in priority groups including those over 65. They have self help material on their website.
- Age UK Newcastle – provide benefits advice to people of State Pension age and over
- Search have advice workers who can help you with any query you may have. This includes filling in forms, benefit checks, heating and housing problems and debt.
There are more benefit advice services available across Newcastle. Read the ‘Where to get benefit advice‘ booklet.
Other Useful Information
- Pension Service – provide information about claiming your pension
- Telephones article on Information Now has details of a more affordable telephone service if you are in receipt of certain benefits for example, Pension Credit, Income Support, Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Last updated: October 17, 2017