Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people on a low income who have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age. (Means-tested benefits are available to people who can demonstrate that their income and capital are below a certain level.) This benefit applies to the United Kingdom. Pension Credit has two parts; Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. You may be able to get one or both parts, depending on your circumstances.
• Guarantee Pension Credit tops up your weekly income if you have a low income
• Savings Pension Credit is an extra payment to reward people who have prepared for their retirement by having some savings or income
You can claim Pension Credit whether or not you are still working. You do not need to have paid any national insurance contributions.
There are different rules for claiming the Guarantee Pension Credit and the Savings Pension Credit.
• To claim Guarantee Pension Credit, you must be State Pension age. This is the age you need to be in order to receive the Basic State Pension or New State Pension from the Government.
• The Savings Pension Credit can be claimed by individuals aged 65 or over. You must also have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016.
You can work out the exact date of your State Pension age by using the state pension age calculator on GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age
Age rules: The age rules are different for the two parts of Pension Credit, refer to https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Pension-Credit/Can-I-get-Pensi... for further details on eligibility.
Guarantee Pension Credit
If you meet the age criteria and are on a low income, you could receive Guarantee Pension Credit.
To get Guarantee Pension Credit you (or your partner) must have reached State Pension age.
Until 15 May 2019, only one partner in a couple needs to have reached State Pension age in order qualify for Guarantee Pension Credit.
From 15 May 2019, both members of a couple will need to have reached State Pension age in order to qualify for Guarantee Pension Credit. Where only one partner is aged over Pension Credit age, the couple will not receive it, though it may be that you are eligible for a Universal Credit claim instead.
Guarantee Pension Credit is more generous than Universal Credit. If you or your partner were already over the Pension Credit age on 14 May 2019 and were already claiming Housing Benefit, you might be able to claim Pension Credit.
You can continue to get Pension Credit after 15 May 2019, as long as you do not have a change of circumstance.
Income and Savings
Your income has to be low enough to get Guarantee Pension Credit. You can make a claim for Guarantee Pension Credit, regardless of your savings and capital. However, if you have capital and savings above £10,000, every £500 you have above £10,000 is counted as £1 of income when your Pension Credit is calculated.
Savings Pension Credit
You could get this part of Pension Credit if you have a certain amount of income coming in from pensions, savings, earnings and investments, are over 65 and you have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, regardless of when you apply.
The Savings Credit part of Pension Credit closed for people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
If you are a couple where one person reaches State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and the other on or after 6 April 2016, you can only get Savings Credit if one of you;
• was already getting savings Pension Credit immediately before 6 April 2016 and
• has been entitled to it at all times since 6 April 2016
How much Pension Credit will you receive?
It is complicated to work out how much pension credit you can get. A benefits calculator can calculate how much Pension Credit you may be entitled to. The links below can assist you:
• Government Pension credit calculator: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator
• Turn2US Benefit calculator: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou
Guarantee Pension Credit
The calculation involves comparing your weekly income (which includes your partner’s income if you live with a partner) to a weekly amount set by the Government:
• £173.75 per week for single people
• £265.20 per week for couples
The actual amount you get will vary for each person because you could also be entitled to extra amounts, depending on your circumstances. For example, there is an extra amount for carers or people with disabilities. If your income is too high to get Guarantee Pension Credit, you may still get some Savings Pension Credit.
Savings Pension Credit
The amount you get depends on whether you have more or less weekly income than:
• £150.47 for single people
• £ 239.17 for couples
If your income is more than this, you may get some Savings Pension Credit. The most you can get is:
• £13.97 for single people
• £15.62 for couples
Pension Credit and Other Benefits
If you get Pension Credit you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age households can receive.
The Guarantee Pension Credit does not count as income when working out your entitlement to other benefits. If you get Guarantee Pension Credit you will automatically qualify for maximum Housing Benefit, but you have to make a separate claim. The £16,000 capital limit for Housing Benefit will not apply if you are getting Guarantee Pension Credit (with or without Savings Credit).
The £16,000 capital limit for applying for Housing Benefit does apply if you only receive the Savings Credit.
If you receive Pension Credit you also qualify for:
• A Christmas Bonus each year which is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus as it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.
• A Cold Weather Payment. You do not need to make a claim as the payment will be made automatically for each qualifying period of cold weather. Refer to https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment for further information.
How do I claim Pension Credit?
In England, Scotland and Wales Phone the Pension Credit Claims Enquiry line:
• Telephone 0800 99 1234
• Textphone 0800 169 0133
If you have already claimed your State Pension and you are not claiming any amounts for any children, you can claim Pension Credit online on the Gov.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim
When you make a claim for Pension Credit, the Pension Service will decide whether you are entitled to any Guarantee Pension Credit, and if so how much. Then they will look at whether you can get any Savings Pension Credit.
When you claim Pension Credit you will be asked for the following details:
• Your national insurance (NI) number. This can be found on payslips, tax papers and letters from the Department for Work and Pensions.
• An idea of how much money you have coming in each week e.g. this could be details of any pension you get from a former employer or a personal pension plan, and how often it is paid.
• Details of any savings and investments. The Pension Service will ask for the current balance in any bank and savings accounts and details of any investments, such as shares, premium bonds or unit trust certificates.
• Information on housing costs, such as mortgage interest, service charges or ground rent.
If you have a partner, you will need to have the same information about them.
A claim for Pension Credit can be backdated for up to three months if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late but you need to request this when claiming. You must report changes in circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.
How do I challenge a Pension Credit decision?
If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.
The time limits are important; you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act promptly.
You can get further information / support from the resources below :
• Gov.uk website site: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit
• Turn2US website: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Pension-Credit/What-is-Pension...
• Contact a member of the Welfare Benefits team whose contact details can be found in the Directory of Institutions http://www.iiuk.org or via the IIUKAPP
(Information correct as at 2 June 2020)