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Friday, 30 September 2011

Pension Credit - introduction

Pension Credit is an income related benefit for pensioners living in Great Britain. It is made up of two different parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Find out more about how you can receive a Pension Credit estimate, and how to apply

Guarantee Credit

The Guarantee Credit works by topping up your weekly income to:

  • £137.35 if you are single 
  • £209.70 if you have a partner

These amounts may be more if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or certain housing costs, such as mortgage interest payments.

Qualifying Age

The age from which you can get the Guarantee Credit – the qualifying age – is gradually increasing to 65 in line with women's State Pension age. To find out the age when you may be able to apply for Pension Credit, you can use the State Pension age calculator.

Changes to the State Pension age are likely to affect the Pension Credit qualifying age.

While you must have reached the qualifying age, you can still claim if your partner is under the qualifying age. If you or your partner are both over the qualifying age either one of you can apply.

‘Partner’ is used to refer to:

  • your husband
  • your wife
  • your civil partner
  • the person you live with as if they were your husband, wife or civil partner

Changes to State Pension age

The age you receive your State Pension could be changing. To find out if you are affected, see ‘Calculating your State Pension age’.

Age 65 or over - Savings Credit

If you are aged 65 or over and living in Great Britain you may be entitled to Savings Credit. You may get the Savings Credit on its own or with the Guarantee Credit. You may be entitled to Savings Credit if you:

  • are aged 65 or over
  • have made some provision towards your retirement such as savings or a second pension

If you have a partner, at least one of you must be 65 or over to get the Savings Credit.

The Savings Credit can be up to:

  • £20.52 a week if you are single
  • £27.09 a week if you have a partner

You may still get the Savings Credit even if the money you have coming in is up to about:

  • £188 a week if you are single
  • £277 a week if you have a partner

These amounts may be more if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or certain housing costs, such as mortgage interest payments.

Get a Pension Credit estimate

Use the Pension Credit calculator to get a Pension Credit estimate. This online calculator is quick and easy to use and will tell you how much Pension Credit you might get. Find out more about the Pension Credit estimate on the following page:

Apply for Pension Credit by telephone

The quickest and simplest way to apply for Pension Credit is to call The Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 or textphone 0800 169 0133. Lines are open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday.

When you phone, you need the following information:

  • your National Insurance number
  • information about your savings, investments and income
  • details of the account into which you would like any Pension Credit payments to be paid

An adviser will help you apply for Pension Credit and let you know what happens next.

The Pension Service can also help you apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit at the same time as your application for Pension Credit.

What if you don’t speak English?

If you don’t speak English then an interpreter can help you apply. Call Freephone 0800 99 1234. An adviser and interpreter will call you back.

Lines are open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday.

Apply for Pension Credit in writing

You can download, print and complete the application form and post free of charge to your pension centre. But don't forget it's quicker and more simple to apply for Pension Credit by telephone. 

You can also download and complete an application form on your computer. You can then print it and post it free to your pension centre.

When to apply for Pension Credit

You can apply up to four months before the date from which you want to start getting Pension Credit.

The Pension Credit qualifying age is gradually increasing to 65 in line with the increase in women’s State Pension age. You can use the State Pension age calculator to find out the date you can get Pension Credit from.

The maximum period that your Pension Credit claim can be backdated is three months.

If you want Pension Credit to start from a past or future date, you need to tell The Pension Service when you apply.

Changes to State Pension age

The age you receive your State Pension could be changing. To find out if you are affected, see ‘Calculating your State Pension age’.

Income, benefits and Pension Credit

Your entitlement to Pension Credit will be affected by how much income you have. Find out what income counts towards Pension Credit, how Pension Credit is paid and how it might affect your other benefits.

Examples of Pension Credit

See examples of how Pension Credit is calculated depending on age and circumstances. These examples give a better understanding of how Pension Credit applies to a real-life situation.

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