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1. What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people on a low income who have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age.

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 Credit tops up your weekly income if you have a low income below £159.35 (for single people) or £243.25 (for couples)

  • 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 getting the Guarantee Pension Credit and the Savings Pension Credit.

  • If you are a woman, to claim Guarantee Pension Credit you must be State Pension age.

  • If you're a man, you can claim Guarantee Pension Credit when you reach the State Pension age of a woman born on the same day and in the same year as you.

  • The Savings Pension Credit can be claimed by men and women aged 65 or over.  You must also have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, but see GOV.UK website for further information on whether couples can qualify.

You can work out the exact date of your State Pension age by using the State Pension age calculator on GOV.UK website.
 

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: The age rules are different for the two parts of Pension Credit, see ‘Can I get Pension Credit’ for further details. 

Type of benefit: Means-tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: The Pension Service

 

Updated April 2017

2. Can I get Pension Credit?

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

Guarantee Pension Credit

If you fit the age rules and are on a low income you could get Guarantee Pension Credit

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 on the Gov.UK website

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 to make a new claim for Pension Credit..

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 and reached state pension age before 6 April 2016. See the full qualification rules for Savings Credit on the GOV.UK website.

3. How much Pension Credit will I get?

Guarantee Pension Credit

It is complicated to work out how much guarantee credit you can get so we suggest using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator which can calculate how much Pension Credit you may be entitled to.

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:

  • £159.35 per week for single people

  • £243.25 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

It is complicated to work out how much Savings Pension Credit you may get so we suggest using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator which can calculate how much you may be entitled to.

The amount you get depends on whether you have more or less weekly income than:

  • £137.35 for single people

  • £ 218.42 for couples

If your income is more than this, you may get some Savings Pension Credit. The most you can get is:

  • £13.20 for single people

  • £14.90 for couples

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.

Changes to Savings Pension Credit from 6 April 2016

The Savings Credit part of Pension Credit closed for people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.

If you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016 you can still get Savings Credit, depending on your circumstances, regardless of when you apply.

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 it immediately before 6 April 2016 and
•  has been entitled to it at all times since 6 April 2016

Benefit Cap

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.

How will I be paid Pension Credit?

Pension Credit will be paid directly into your Bank, Building Society or Post Office account or by Simple Payment if you are unable to open or manage one of these or a similar account.

Pension Credit is usually paid every four weeks.

Pension Credit and other benefits

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.

Cold Weather Payment

If you receive Pension Credit you also qualify for 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. See our Cold Weather Payment guide for further details.

 

Updated April 2017

4. 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

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

Or download a claim form from the download a Pension Credit 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

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

When you make a claim for Pension Credit, the Pension Service will first 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.

What documents will I need to claim Pension Credit?

When you claim Pension Credit you will be asked for:

  • 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. 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.

When will my Pension Credit claim begin?

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. Request this when claiming.

Change of circumstances

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

5. 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 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