Pension Credit

What is Pension Credit?

Pension credit is a benefit for people over working age. It is means tested which means that eligibility depends on the amount of money you have coming in and any savings or capital that you have. 

Pension Credit is made up of two parts: guarantee credit and savings credit.

Guarantee credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level.

Savings credit can be paid if you have a small amount of your own income or savings.

You may be entitled to either the guarantee credit or the savings credit, or both. However, from 6 April 2016 you cannot claim savings credit for the first time unless you reached State Pension Age before 6 April 2016, or if you are in a couple, you or your partner reached State Pension Age before 6 April 2016.

You can claim Pension Credit regardless of whether you have paid any national insurance contributions. You can still work whilst claiming Pension Credit.

Who can claim Pension Credit?

If you are a woman, you must be state pension age to claim Pension Credit. If you are a man, you can claim Pension Credit when you reach the state pension age of a woman with the same date of birth as you. Your state pension age will depend on your date of birth, but will be between aged 60 and 68.

Who can get the guarantee credit?

The same rules apply in relation to reaching state pension age.

You must be living in the UK and not have any immigration controls on your stay here that would stop you claiming benefits. 

Your income must be below a certain amount. The amount will depend on your personal circumstances. Usually, if your income is below £155.60 per week if you are single or £237.55 if you are a couple, you are likely to get the guarantee credit. If you are awarded the guarantee credit, the amount you get is likely to be the difference between these figures and your current income per week. 

There is no limit on how much capital (savings and property) you can have, but you will be treated as having income from any of your capital which exceeds £10,000. Some of your capital will be ignored, for example your home and personal possessions.

The rules apply to your personal circumstances, so you should seek advice on eligibility.

Who can get the savings credit?

Provided you or your partner reached State Pension Age before 6 April 2016, if you are 65 or over and you have made some provision for your retirement (for example savings or a second pension) and this provision brings your level of income above the amount set by the Government (this is called the Savings Credit Starting Point).

You must be living in the UK and not have any immigration controls on your stay that would stop you claiming benefits. You must have more than a certain amount of income, but not so much that you do not get any savings credit.

The rules apply to your personal circumstances, so you should seek advice on eligibility.

Are there additional amounts for disabled people and carers?

You may get extra amounts for:

  • Severe disability: if you receive Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or higher rate or the daily living component of the Personal Independence Payment and nobody is getting Carers Allowance for you. 
  • Being a carer: if you or  your partner are receiving Carers Allowance, or have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carers Allowance (if you are entitled to Carers Allowance but cannot be paid it because you are receiving an overlapping benefit).

How do I claim Pension Credit

Pension Credit is administered through the Pensions Service. Telephone (England, Wales and Scotland): 0800 991 234 Textphone (England, Wales and Scotland): 0800 169 0133

Telephone (Northern Ireland): 0808 100 6165
Textphone (Northern Ireland): 0808 100 1165
 
Online: A form is available to download and fill out on the GOV.uk website.
 
By contacting your local pension centre: this depends on where you live. Call the Pension Credit phone lines to find out where this is, or visit the GOV.uk website.
 
If you need a home visit to help you claim, the Pensions Service can arrange this. 
 
You are likely to need the following information to support your claim:
  • National insurance number
  • Proof of identity (for example a driving licence, birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate or passport)
  • Evidence of your income (for example pension payslips or proof of any other money you receive – these must be original documents, not copies, and the Pensions Service will send them back to you as soon as possible)

You will usually have one month from the day that you first get in touch with the Pensions Service (to make your claim) to provide the evidence required. 

Pension Credit can be backdated for up to 3 months, as long as you can proof that you were entitled to it for those 3 months. 

Problems with pension credit

If your claim for Pension Credit has been refused, or you think you have been awarded the wrong amount, you can ask the Pension Service to look at their decision again. You must do this within one month of the date of the decision. You can do it by phone or in writing but we advise that you do it in writing so that there is a record of your request. If you are unhappy with the mandatory reconsideration decision then you can appeal against the decision. You should do this within one month of the date of the mandatory reconsideration decision.

For help and advice, contact the Sense Information and Advice Service

First published: Wednesday 26 February 2014
Updated: Monday 28 November 2016