Pension Credit 2023: what it is, eligible age, what it's worth and how to claim

Updated on 23 March 2023

UK retirees are missing out on a staggering £1.7 billion worth of help, largely because they've never heard of Pension Credit.

Pension Credit: 850,000 eligible Brits missing out

Many of the UK's poorest retirees are missing out on vital Government help that could be worth up to £3,300 a year.

Pension Credit provides low-income those over State Pension age with extra funds to help with their living costs.

Yet many eligible households are failing to claim this vital help as they have either never heard of it or wrongly assume they wouldn't qualify.

The Department for Work and Pensions said estimated last year that as many as 850,000 retirees are missing out, with around £1.7 billion going unclaimed (check if you're eligible for Pension Credit - opens in new window).

Awareness far lower than for other, lesser, benefits

Retirement firm Just Group put out some eye-opening figures earlier this month that highlighted the lack of awareness among UK retirees. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those it spoke to had never even heard of Pension Credit. 

As a point of comparison, far fewer were unaware of perks such as free bus passes (5%) and prescriptions (5%), despite these being worth a fraction of the amount.

Shockingly, the company also found that it is the poorest households that are least likely to take advantage, with those on low incomes actually receiving less on average through Pension Credit than middle-income homes.

And it's not just the value of Pension Credit itself that they are missing out on.

As Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown points out, successfully claiming it also opens up additional support.

"Pension Credit tops up the income of the poorest pensioners and acts as a valuable gateway to other support such as help with Council Tax and NHS costs," she explains. 

If you are retired and struggling to make ends meet, it's vital you ensure you aren't potentially missing out on thousands of pounds worth of help.

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 the State Pension is worth now

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.

Worried man (Image: lovemoney - Shutterstock)

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.

You can read all your options for making a claim on this Government page, but probably 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.


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