Pension Credit provides additional retirement income if you are on a low income, but one in three of the people who are entitled to it don’t claim it. If you’re one of these, you’re missing out on hundreds of pounds a year. Read on to see if you’re eligible for Pension Credit.
- What is Pension Credit?
- Pension Credit – How much do you get?
- Pension Credit – Who can claim?
- Pension Credit eligibility for couples – changes from 15 May 2019
- Deadline for backdating unclaimed Pension Credit under the old rules
- When and how to apply for Pension Credit
- What to do if your circumstances change
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is a benefit for people on lower incomes.
It has two parts:
- Guarantee Credit
- Savings Credit.
Only people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 are eligible to claim the Savings Credit part of Pension Credit.
Even if you find out you are only entitled to a small amount of Pension Credit, it’s worth claiming it as it might help you qualify for other benefits, as well as providing some extra income.
Pension Credit – How much do you get?
The amounts shown below are for the 2019-20 tax year.
Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level of £167.25 if you’re single or £255.25 if you’re married or in a civil partnership.
Savings Credit provides some extra money if you’ve made some provision towards your retirement by saving, or with a pension other than the basic State Pension.
The additional income provided by Savings Credit is up to:
- £13.72 a week for a single person, and
- £15.35 for married couples and civil partners.
However, you will not normally be eligible for this credit if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
For more information, visit GOV.UK.
Additional Pension Credit in special circumstances
You might get a higher amount of Pension Credit if:
- you’re disabled
- you have caring responsibilities, or
- you’re responsible for paying certain housing costs, including mortgage interest payments.
Pension Credit – Who can claim?
Eligibility for Pension Credit is changing – please read this section as well as the one that follows.
To claim Guarantee Credit you need to have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age. You can use the simple calculator on the GOV.UK website to find out the age that applies to you.
To be eligible for Savings Credit, you must have reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. The amount you’ll get will depend on the savings and income you already have.
You can claim Pension Credit regardless of whether you’re still working or have retired.
Pension Credit eligibility for couples – changes from 15 May 2019
From 15 May 2019, if you’re in a couple you’ll only be eligible to make a new claim for Pension Credit if one of the following applies to you:
- both you and your partner have reached Pension Credit qualifying age
- one of you has reached Pension Credit qualifying age and is claiming Housing Benefit for you as a couple.
If you’re in a couple and not eligible for Pension Credit under the new rules, you can both apply for Universal Credit instead.
Note that the above changes are for new claims only.
If you already get Pension Credit and your partner is under the qualifying age, you will carry on receiving Pension Credit for as long as you remain eligible.
However, if your circumstances change (for example, your income increases) and you lose your entitlement to Pension Credit, you won’t be able to start getting it again until you and your partner are eligible under the new rules.
Similarly, if you were single and claiming Pension Credit before 15 May 2019, but on or after that date start living with a partner who is under Pension Credit qualifying age, you will lose your entitlement until your partner also reaches Pension Credit qualifying age.
Deadline for backdating unclaimed Pension Credit under the old rules
If you were in a couple and eligible for Pension Credit on 14 May 2019 but hadn’t yet claimed it under the old rules, you can backdate your claim by up to three months. This means the latest you can apply is 13 August 2019, so don’t miss out.
When and how to apply for Pension Credit
If you are eligible for Pension Credit (whether single or as a couple), you can apply up to four months before you want to start receiving it.
The quickest way is to call the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469.
They’ll fill in the application form for you.
To apply for Pension Credit you will need to provide certain information.
- your bank account details
- your National Insurance number
- evidence of your income and your savings or investments.
What to do if your circumstances change
The amount of Pension Credit you get might change if your income, capital or other circumstances change.
If you’re 65 or over, you may have been told when you got your Pension Credit decision that an assessed income period applies to you. In this case, you do not need to tell the Pension Service about every change in circumstance.
However, be sure to check the accompanying information sheet called Pension Credit: extra information. This tells you about changes you must report even within an assessed income period.
If an assessed income period doesn’t apply, you must tell the Pension Service immediately about any change in your circumstances that might affect how much Pension Credit you get – for example, if you start work or if your savings go above £10,000. That way, they can recalculate your Pension Credit entitlement and make sure you receive the right amount.
And remember: from 15 May 2019, if you start to live with a partner who is under Pension Credit qualifying age you will need to report this and will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit. You will need to apply for Universal Credit instead.
To notify the Pension Service of a change in circumstances, call them on 0800 731 0469 and choose Option 1.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.