Care and support guide

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is a benefit paid to people who have reached the qualifying age and have a low income.

Pension Credit is not the same as the state retirement pension, which is based on your National Insurance contributions during your working life. Pension Credit can be paid on top of retirement and other pensions.

Pension Credit is just one of the benefits you may be eligible for when you’re over pension age and have care needs, or are caring for someone else.

Pension Credit has two parts: the Guarantee Credit and the Savings Credit.

You can be paid Guarantee Credit alone or Savings Credit alone, or both if you qualify. They are paid for different reasons.

Guarantee Credit

You can claim Guarantee Credit if you or your partner have reached the qualifying age. The qualifying age for Guarantee Credit is gradually going up to 65, in line with the increase in women’s State Pension age and any further increase in the State Pension age.

You can find out more in the GOV.UK Pension Credit guide. You can check what your qualifying age will be on the GOV.UK: State Pension age calculator.

Guarantee Credit is designed to top up your weekly income if it is below a certain amount. 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 Pension 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.

Savings Credit

You may qualify for Savings Credit if you or your partner are over 65 and if your qualifying income is over a specified amount. It's an extra amount for those people who have made some provisions for their 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 Pension Credit

The easiest way to apply for Pension Credit is by phone on 0800 99 1234 (textphone 0800 169 0133) from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. A friend or family member can call for you – although you must be with them when they call.

Alternatively, you can ask for a paper application by calling the helpline or by contacting a voluntary organisation (such as Citizens Advice) in your area.

Work and Pension Credit

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. However, for Pension 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.

You may still be entitled to Savings Credit even if your earnings mean 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.

For more information, see Claiming income-related benefits.

The official government source of information on benefits is GOV.UK.

Page last reviewed: 15/01/2015

Next review due: 15/01/2017

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Media last reviewed: 22/11/2013

Next review due: 22/11/2015