Pension Credit: are you missing out?
Many pensioners are failing to claim vital Government help that they are entitled to, according to a new report.
Government statistics show around one million eligible retirees are not receiving Pension Credit, missing out on a vital boost to their pension income.
Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown believes this is because many don't even know Pension Credit exists, or mistakenly believe they can't claim it.
"Pension Credit also acts as a gateway to other benefits with over 75s being able to get a free TV licence for instance," she explains.
"You can also get help with heating and council tax bills so it can potentially be a massive help.
"With inflation really starting to show its teeth and energy bills on the rise, many pensioners face a real squeeze in income over the coming months and any extra income is welcome."
In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about Pension Credit, including who is eligible, how much it's worth and how to claim.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that can boost your State Pension.
It’s made up of two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Guarantee Credit is a weekly payment that you can get to top-up your income to a minimum level.
Savings Credit is a top-up for those that have saved some money towards their retirement, for example in a pension.
How much can you get?
Guarantee Credit tops up your income to £182.60 a week if you’re single or £278.70 if you’re in a couple.
Savings Credit pays up to £14.48 extra a week if you’re single or £16.20 a week if you’re in a couple.
You can use the Government’s Pension Credit calculator to work out how much you could get.
You are treated as a couple if you live with your husband, wife or partner – but you don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership.
Since last May, a change in rules means a couple can only claim if both of them have reached State Pension age.
If one partner has reached State Pension age and is claiming Housing Benefit for a couple, they may be able to claim for Pension Credit.
Who is eligible for Pension Credit and Savings Credit?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for one or both parts of Pension Credit.
Pension Credit is available if you live in Great Britain and you and your partner have reached the qualifying age of 66.
You can use this calculator to check what your qualifying age is.
To be eligible for Guarantee Credit, your weekly income must be less than £182.60 if you're single or £278.70 for couples.
You may be able to claim even if your weekly income is higher if you have a severe disability, you are a carer or have to pay housing costs such as a mortgage. Learn more here.
Savings Credit is only available to people that reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.
If you are entitled to Pension Credit, you may also be eligible for other benefits. So, even if you are only eligible for a small amount of Pension Credit, it’s worth claiming to potentially get access to other help.
Use a benefits calculator to figure out what else you can get.
When can you claim?
The earliest you can apply for Pension Credit is four months before you reach the qualifying age.
You can also claim any time after you reach Pension State age, but your claim can only be backdated for three months.
How to claim Pension Credit
In order to get Pension Credit, you need to make a claim for it.
The quickest way to do this is by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 (textphone: 0800 169 0133). It’s open Monday to Friday, 8am to 7:30pm.
An agent will fill in the application for you over the phone.
If you don’t want to make a claim by phone, you can request a paper application.
You will need your National Insurance number, information about your income, pensions, savings and investments plus your bank account details to make a claim.