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Pension Credit

Pension Credit is a top-up benefit that is paid if your weekly income is too low. It's not the same as the retirement pension, which is earned on your National Insurance contributions. It can be paid on top of retirement and other pensions. You can claim it using the Pension Credit claim form (PDF, 984Kb). You can work out how much Pension Credit you might get by using the GOV.UK Pension Credit calculator.

Pension Credit is just one of the benefits you may be eligible for as a carer. You can find out more information on the range of benefits for carers online or by calling Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053.

Pension Credit has two parts: the Guarantee Credit and the Savings Credit. These can be paid together if you qualify for both, or you can be paid Guarantee Credit alone or Savings Credit alone. They are paid for different reasons.

Guarantee Credit

You can claim Guarantee Credit if you or your partner have reached the qualifying age. Between 2010 and 2020, the qualifying age for Guarantee Credit will move gradually to 66 in line with the increase in the State Pension age for women to 65 and the further increase to 66 for men. You can find out more in the GOV.UK Pension Credit leaflet: Do I qualify and how much could I get? You can check what your qualifying age will be on the GOV.UK: State Pension age calculator.

Guarantee Credit is a top-up benefit that is paid if your weekly income is too low. The amount paid depends on whether you're single or you live with a partner. It can be paid at a higher rate if you're severely disabled, a carer, or both. It can also provide help with certain housing costs if you're responsible for paying a mortgage or other costs relating to owning your home.

Your income and capital (and those of your partner, if you have one) are taken into account when Guarantee Credit is worked out. If your weekly income is below a certain level, you'll receive some Guarantee Credit. Even if the amount you receive is quite small, it's worth claiming because it also entitles you to extra help, such as the maximum Housing Benefit (if you rent your home).

If you're single, your weekly income can be topped up to at least £148.35 a week. If you're in a couple, your income can be topped up to at least £226.50 a week. If you're severely disabled, a carer, or both, the amount may be substantially higher.

Savings Credit

You can claim Savings Credit if you or your partner are over 65 and if your income is over the amount of the basic retirement pension. It's a small sum paid as a "reward" to reflect the fact that you've made special provisions for your retirement, such as contributing to a personal pension or building up a modest amount of savings. It can be paid on its own or on top of Guarantee Credit. Even when paid on its own, Savings Credit can lead to a certain amount of extra help.

Claiming is simple and there's more information on how to make a Pension Credit claim on GOV.UK.

It's possible to work and claim Pension Credit. There's no limit to the hours you work, but your earnings will affect how much Pension Credit you get.

There are rules about being a resident and present, as well as your immigration status, which must be satisfied in order to receive Pension Credit.

If you receive Pension Credit, you will automatically be entitled to other help such as free NHS dental treatment, sight testsprescriptions and housing grants.

If you are unhappy with a Pension Credit decision, you can appeal.

Click on the bars below for information about how your age and work may affect eligibility for Pension Credit. Follow the links to

How age affects Pension Credit

Pension Credit is a top-up benefit payable if your weekly income is low. There are two types of Pension Credit: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Your age and that of your partner affect your entitlement to Pension Credit.

State Pension age

The State Pension age for men is 65, and for women it is moving gradually from 60 to 65 between now and 2020. The age at which you can claim Pension Credit will change in the same way.

You can claim Guarantee Credit if you've reached state pension age and your income is below a level set by the law. This level is higher if you're a carer or severely disabled.

You're eligible for Savings Credit if you or your partner are over the age of 65. It's paid if your income is above basic retirement pension levels as a reward for having made additional provision for your retirement.

If you're under State Pension age, you cannot claim Pension Credit. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to claim Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or Employment and Support Allowance. You cannot claim Income Support if you've reached pension age. If you're a woman, your claim for Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance will stop when you reach State Pension age.

If you're a man aged between 60 and 65, you may have a choice between claiming Pension Credit and claiming Employment and Support Allowance, or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. You'll generally be better off claiming Pension Credit. Get advice to decide if this is the correct choice in your case.

If your partner is under the qualifying age for Pension Credit, they may be able to claim Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, but if they do you won't be able to claim Pension Credit. You'll normally be better off on Pension Credit. Seek help and advice to decide on the correct choice.

It's possible to work and claim certain other benefits while claiming Pension Credit, but your income from other benefits may reduce the amount of Pension Credit you receive.

Assessed income period for Pension Credit

If you're over 65 and have made a claim for Pension Credit, you may not have to go through the claim procedure again for up to five years. This is called an assessed income period and is set if the Pension Service thinks your "retirement provision" is unlikely to change in the near future. If this is the case, you must still report some changes of circumstances, but you don't have to report every change.

Work and Pension Credit

You can claim Guarantee Credit if you're over 60. If you or your partner are aged 65 or over, you can claim Savings Credit, which can be paid on top of Guarantee Credit or on its own.

You can claim Pension Credit and still do some work. There's no restriction upon either the type of work or how many hours you do. If you have a partner, they're equally free to work. There's no distinction between part-time and full-time work.

However, for Guarantee Credit, your earnings will count as income and this will affect the amount you are paid. If your income is too high, you'll no longer receive Guarantee Credit.

Savings Credit also depends on your income, including your earnings, but may be payable even if you no longer get Guarantee Credit.

If you work more than 16 hours a week, you may be eligible for Working Tax Credit. It's possible to claim this alongside Pension Credit, but any Working Tax Credit you get will count as income for Pension Credit purposes.

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

jane clout said on 04 December 2013

Just like to point out that the age for Pension Credit Guarantee is changing in line with the female retirement age, so it's no longer available at age 60, rather later than that now, depending on your date of birth. Find out when it is for you by pretending to be female and entering your date of birth into the State Pension Calculator on the .gov website.

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Page last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

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