Fees & Funding > What Is Pension Credit and Are You Eligible?

What Is Pension Credit and Are You Eligible?

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Pension Credit is a benefit you can begin receiving once you've nearly reached the State Pension age. It’s aimed at older adults who may need extra financial support.

There are two main parts to Pension Credit - guarantee credit and savings credit. Both act as a top-up to make day-to-day living that little bit easier for older adults.

In this article, we’ve gone over what Pension Credit is, whether you’re eligible, how much you’ll get and how to claim it. We’ve also looked at the different pensioner benefits which are available to people who claim Pension Credit.

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In this article:

  1. What is Pension Credit?
  2. Am I eligible?
  3. How much you’ll get
  4. How it’s paid
  5. How to claim

What is Pension Credit?

As we mentioned, Pension Credit provides extra money to help with living costs for people who are over the State Pension age and have a low income.

If you’re a carer for a family member or friend, are responsible for children or young adults, or have a disability, you may be eligible for Pension Credit.

Pension Credit payments are made up of two different elements, and we’ve gone over both of these below.

Guarantee Credit

This is the main part of Pension Credit. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a particular amount.

You may also receive extra amounts if you have any other responsibilities or costs. For instance, any service charges linked to the home you live in. These extra payments also fall under Guarantee Credit.

Savings Credit

This is the extra money you’ll get if your income is higher than the basic State Pension. People who reached the State Pension age before 6 April 2016 are eligible.

You’ll get up to £17.01 a week in Savings Credit if you’re single, and up to £19.04 a week if you have a partner.

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Am I Eligible For Pension Credit?

To be eligible for Pension Credit, the most important things are that you’ve reached the State Pension age and you live in England, Scotland or Wales.

There are separate rules for couples, as well as for people living in other parts of Europe (we’ve gone over these below).

Eligibility for couples

Most couples who claim Pension Credit do so when they’ve both reached the State Pension age. If you have a partner, income is jointly calculated.

If one of you hasn’t reached the State Pension age, you’ll be classed as a mixed-age couple.

Middle aged male couple

Mixed-age couples

If you’re below the State Pension age but your partner is above it (or vice-versa), you’ll be classed as a mixed-age couple.

A mixed-age couple can’t make a new Pension Credit claim. Instead, you’ll need to claim Universal Credit. Having this status may also make you ineligible for certain other means-tested benefits.

However, if you were already receiving Pension Credit or Housing Benefit under the pension age rules pre-May 2019 (or were able to claim by 13th August 2019 and had it backdated before the rule change), you’ll be able to continue receiving pension benefits such as Pension Credit).

If you aren’t a UK citizen

Usually, you need to have British citizenship to claim Pension Credit in the UK.

If you’re a citizen of a country in the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you need to show you have a settled status or a right to claim benefits in the UK (this is known as a ‘right to reside’).

You also need to show that the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man is your main home and you intend on living there in the future.

How Much Will I Get?

Depending on whether you’re single or in a relationship, you’ll get the following top-up to any other income each week:

  • If you’re single, your weekly income will be topped up to £218.15
  • If you have a partner, your joint weekly income will be topped up to £332.95

(The above is guarantee credit - the main element of Pension Credit).

If your income is higher than this, you might still be eligible (such as if you’re a carer, have a disability or have high costs that you need help with like continuing to pay for a house).

For more information, have a guide explaining how much Pension Credit is a week.

If you care for an adult

If you get Carer’s Allowance or previously claimed it but aren’t currently paid it as you already get a different benefit paying a higher amount, you could receive an extra £45.60 a week.

Woman caring for an older man

If you care for people aged under 20

You may be eligible for an extra £66.29 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for (usually, they need to live with you and be under 20 years old).

This goes up to £76.79 for the first child or young person if they were born before 6 April 2017.

If the person you’re responsible for is aged between 16 and 20, they must take part in approved training such as a Foundation Apprenticeship, or a course of non-advanced education such as studying for GCSEs or A-levels.

If the child or young person is disabled, you may also be able to receive an extra £35.93 if they receive Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment. This goes up to £112.21 if they’re blind or receive the highest component from any of the benefits we just mentioned.

If you’re disabled

If you receive any of the following, you could be eligible for an extra £81.50 per week:

How It’s Paid

Pension Credit will either be paid directly into your bank, building society or Post Office account (these are the most common methods of payment).

If none of these previous options are available, it can also be paid through a Payment Exception Service.

Pension Credit is usually paid every four weeks.

How To Claim Pension Credit

You can apply for Pension Credit up to four months before you reach State Pension age and any time after you’ve reached it.

To apply, you’ll need the following information about yourself (and your partner if you have one):

  • National Insurance number
  • Details of your income, savings and investments (including money within a savings account)

You can apply online using GOV.UK’s free service

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