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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

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:

  • £142.70 if you're single 
  • £217.90 if you have a partner

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

Qualifying Age

To be eligible for Guarantee Credit you must have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age. This is gradually increasing to 66 by 2020. To find out the date from which you qualify, you can use the State Pension age calculator.

Further changes to the State Pension age are likely to affect the Pension Credit qualifying age.

While you must have reached the Guarantee Credit qualifying age, you can still claim if your partner is under the Guarantee Credit qualifying age. If you or your partner are both over the Guarantee Credit qualifying age either one of you can apply. Get an estimate below on the Pension Credit calculator.

‘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 State Pension age is increasing. To find out more see ‘Calculating your State Pension age’.

Savings Credit

The age from which you can get the Savings Credit is 65. However, from March 2019 this will gradually increase in line with the increase in State Pension age. If you're currently 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:

  • £18.54 a week if you're single
  • £23.73 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:

  • £189 a week if you are single
  • £277 a week if you have a partner

These amounts may be more if you're 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:

How to apply for Pension Credit

You’ll receive a letter before you reach your State Pension age or Pension Credit qualifying age if you also receive a benefit from either:

  • Jobcentre Plus
  • The Pension Service
  • The Disability and Careers Service

The letter will tell you what you need to do next.

For anyone else the easiest way is to apply by phone. You can 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 (except public holidays).

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 (except public holidays).

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 66 alongside 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 State Pension age is increasing. To find out more 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 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.

Additional links

Simpler, Clearer, Faster

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Being enrolled into a workplace pension

Starting from October 2012, millions of workers will be enrolled into a workplace pension

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