What is Pension Credit - and do I qualify?
There are two parts to Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
If you qualify for Guarantee Credit, your income will be topped up so you reach the following per week:
£173.75 for individuals
£265.20 for couples
If your income exceeds these amounts, it’s unlikely you’ll qualify for Guarantee Credit. However there are exceptions if one of the following criteria applies:
You have a severe disability
You are a carer
You have to pay housing costs like a mortgage
Savings Credit is an extra income available to those who have saved some money towards their retirement, however only those who came of retirement age before April 6 2016 can claim Savings Credit.
If you qualify for Savings Credit, you will be entitled to the following extra income per week:
£13.97 for individuals
£15.62 for couples
Rule change for couples as of 15 May 2019
If you’re of retirement age but your live-in partner isn’t, then you might not qualify for Pension Credit. As of May 15 2019 new claims for couples’ Pension Credit have to meet the following criteria:
Both of you have reached Pension Credit qualifying age
One of you has reached Pension Credit qualifying age and is claiming Housing Benefit for you as a couple
If you were receiving Pension Credit as a couple before the rule change, you shouldn’t be affected and can carry on receiving it, as long as your circumstances don’t change (e.g. if you have a higher income).
However if you were previously claiming as an individual and moved in with your partner after May 15 2019, you’ll no longer qualify for Pension Credit as your circumstances have changed. If this happens, you won’t be able to submit a new claim as a couple if you don’t meet the new criteria specified above.
What are the benefits of Pension Credit?
If you qualify for Pension Credit, it not only boosts your income but can give you access to other benefits too. These can include:
Exemption from having to pay Council Tax (if you live on your own)
A cold weather payment of £25 if the temperature drops to or goes below 0°C for seven days in a row
Private tenants could get their rent covered by Housing Benefit
Homeowners could qualify for help with surplus charges such as ground rent, interest on mortgages and service charges
Free dentistry on the NHS, together with subsidies towards glasses and transport if you need to go to hospital
Carers could be entitled to an additional Carer Premium or Carer Addition, worth up to £37.50 per week
Those aged 75 and over are exempt from having to pay for their TV license if they receive Pension Credit. (The BBC has recently changed the rules so that those aged 75 and over will no longer be able to obtain a free TV license without Pension Credit from 2020)
How do I apply for Pension Credit?
Once you’ve checked that you are of State Pension age (see above), you should call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 (textphone: 0800 169 0133).
To speed up the process, make sure you have the following details to hand:
National Insurance number
Bank account details
Details of any income, savings and investments
Details of your housing costs (such as your rent or mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
If you have a partner, you need their details too i.e. their name, address (if they don’t live with you), date of birth and National Insurance number
The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice.