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Pension Credit

Key information

Pension Credit has two parts – guarantee credit and savings credit.

From October 2015 some changes are expected to be made to Pension Credit to include help for those with rent or dependent children, see our Benefit Changes Timetable - October 2015 for more information.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: See the 'who does it help' section below for age rules. At the moment, as long as the person applying meets the age rules it does not matter what age their partner is but this will be changing as Universal Credit is rolled out and both members of a couple will need to meet the age rules.

Type of benefit: Means-tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: The Pension Service

 

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Who does it help?

You can claim Pension Credit whether or not you are working. You do not have to have paid national insurance contributions.

You may be able to claim one part or both parts, depending on your circumstances:

Guarantee credit If you fit the age rules and are on a low income this part tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level.

Women can get this part when they reach state pension age.

Men can get this part when they reach the state pension age of a woman with the same date of birth as them.

You can work out your exact state pension age by using the state pension age calculator (link opens in a new window) on the Government's Gov.UK website.

Savings credit You could get this part if you have a certain amount of income coming in from pensions, savings, earnings and investments and are over 65.

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How much does it pay?

Guarantee credit

It is complicated to work out how much guarantee credit you can get. Your weekly income (which includes your partner’s income if you live with a partner) is compared to a minimum weekly amount set by the Government: Single people - £148.35 per week Couples - £226.50 per week

The actual amount will vary for each person because it can be made up of different elements on top of this minimum amount, depending on your circumstances. For example there is an extra amount for carers or people with disabilities.

The amount of guarantee credit that you will get is calculated by comparing your appropriate weekly amount and your actual income. If your income is too high to get guarantee credit, you may still get some savings credit.

The Turn2us Benefits Calculator can calculate how much Pension Credit you may be entitled to.

Savings credit

It is complicated to work out how much savings credit you may get. The amount depends on whether you have more or less weekly income than a certain limit:

Single person - £120.35

Couple - 192.00

If your income is more than this amount, you may get some savings credit, the maximum amount is:

Single person - £16.80

Couple - £20.70

The Turn2us Benefits Calculator can calculate how much savings credit you may be entitled to.

Cold Weather Payment

If you receive Pension Credit you also qualify for a Cold Weather Payment of £25 if the temperature where you live falls to zero degrees Celsius or below for seven days in a row. You do not need to make a claim as the payment will be made automatically for each week of cold weather.

Christmas Bonus

If you receive Pension Credit you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year. This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

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How do I make a Pension Credit claim?

When you apply for Pension Credit, the Pension Service will first decide whether you are entitled to any guarantee credit, and if so how much. Then they will look at whether you can get any savings credit.

Telephone Claim

Phone the Pension Credit Claims Enquiry line.

Telephone: 0800 99 1234
Textphone: 0800 169 0133

Lines are open 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday except public holidays.

Paper Claim

Download a claim form from the GOV.UK website (link opens in a new window)

In Northern Ireland

Phone the Pension Service:

Telephone: 0808 100 6165
Textphone: 0808 100 1165

Download a claim form from the NI Direct website (link opens in a new window)

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What will I need when I claim Pension Credit?

  • Your National insurance (NI) number. This can be found on payslips, tax papers and letters from the DWP.
  • An idea of how much money they have coming in each week. For example, 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.

Can Pension Credit be backdated?

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. Request this when claiming.

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Challenging 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 strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.

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Last updated: 7 April 2014

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