Pension Credit is a benefit for people on a low income. It can be used to top up any State Pension that you’re getting.
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Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit. Means-tested benefits are the ones that vary depending on how much income you have. There are two parts to the benefit:
- Guarantee Credit – this tops up a low income.
- Savings Credit – this is intended to provide extra money if you have modest savings and are aged 65 or over.
Pension Credit is for people on a low income who have reached Pension Credit age. This is being raised from 60 to 66 in the ten years up to October 2020. You can visit the Gov.uk website calculator to work out your Pension Credit age.
If you're in a relationship
Only one member of a couple can claim this benefit. You’re considered to be part of a couple if you’re married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting (living with someone as part of a couple).
If you’re the person who’s claiming, it doesn’t normally matter if your partner hasn’t reached Pension Credit age. However, if you’re living in an area where Universal Credit has been introduced it does matter. You’ll only be able to claim Pension Credit when both of you have reached the right age.
This will depend on your circumstances.
This is worked out by comparing the amount the law says you need to live on with your income. As with other means-tested benefits, some of your income is taken into account while other parts of your income may not be. While these rules are complex, the main thing to know is that Guarantee Credit tops up a low income to the amount the law says you need to live on. This amount is higher if, for example, you or your partner has a severe disability or is a carer.
Savings credit is currently being phased out and isn’t available to people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you can still get Savings Credit if you meet the qualifying conditions.
If you’re part of a couple where one person has reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 but the other person reaches State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, you can only get Savings Credit if one of you qualified or received Savings Credit before 6 April 2016.
The best way to claim is by phone. In England, Scotland and Wales, phone the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or visit the GOV.uk website. An adviser from the Pension Service or an advice centre can help you fill in the form, either at the centre or by visiting you at home.
In Northern Ireland, phone the Pension Centre on 0808 100 6165 or visit the nidirect website. Your claim can be backdated for up to three months if you met the qualifying conditions throughout that period.
If you qualify for Pension Credit, it’s usually paid into your bank or building society account in arrears.
Reporting a change in your circumstances
If you are claiming benefits and gave incorrect information by mistake or if there is a change in your circumstances, you need to report it. Who you tell depends on what support you're getting. Visit GOV.UK for more information about reporting a change in circumstances.
The rules for decisions on your Pension Credit claim and for asking for reconsiderations and appeals are the same as for other DWP or SSA benefits. Read our information about appealing a benefits decision for more details.
If you’re awarded the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, you may be entitled to:
- full help with your rent (Housing Benefit)
- help with mortgage interest payments and certain other housing costs
- help from your local council towards your Council Tax (or rate relief in Northern Ireland)
- help with NHS charges such as vouchers for glasses and hospital travel fares.
If you’re entitled to either part of Pension Credit you may also be able to get a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund to help with funeral expenses if a partner, child, close relative or close friend has died.
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