What is Pension Credit? David Drew MP's guide to claiming
What is Pension Credit?
Pension credit is an income-related benefit aimed at anyone over the state pension age (currently rising from 65 to 66 for both men and women). It offers older people a weekly top-up to their income.
Pension Credit is available to single pensioners, including widows and widowers, as well as couples. Nearly four million people are eligible for pension credit, but a third of those fail to claim it – in many cases because they don't realise they're entitled to it. Even if you find out you're only entitled to a small amount of pension credit, it's still worth claiming it as it can enable you to qualify not only for a licence fee exemption but also for other benefits and for help with council tax.
Pension Credit is made up of 2 parts - Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples).
Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, for example a pension.
To qualify for pension credit:
1. You must live in Great Britain.
2. You must have reached state pension age (currently rising from 65 to 66 for both men and women).
3. Your weekly income must be below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples).
Working out your income:
When you apply for Pension Credit your income is worked out. This includes:
· State Pension
· other pensions
· most social security benefits, for example Carer’s Allowance
· savings, investments over £10,000 - for these £1 is counted for every £500 or part £500
If you’re entitled to a private or workplace pension, the amount you’d expect to get is calculated as income from the date you were able to get it, if you had claimed it.
When working out if you can get Pension Credit, the income you’d get from your State Pension is included whether you’re claiming it or not.
The calculation does not include:
· Attendance Allowance
· Christmas Bonus
· Disability Living Allowance
· Personal Independence Payment
· Housing Benefit
· Council Tax Reduction
If you’re registered for Self Assessment, you must tell the Pension Service how much Income Tax you expect to pay for the current tax year - this affects how much Pension Credit you’ll get.
How do I claim Pension Credit?
The quickest way to claim Pension Credit is to call the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.
You will need:
· Your National insurance (NI) number
· Information about your income, savings and investments
· Your bank account details
You can always make a paper application if you're unable to make a claim by phone. You can get a friend or family member to call the helpline to ask for a paper application.
The earliest you can start your application is four months before you reach pension credit qualifying age.
You can claim any time after you reach pension credit qualifying age, but your claim can only be backdated for three months.