Pension Credit

Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached the qualifying age.

It can top up your State Pension if you have a low income.

The qualifying age for getting Pension Credit increased for everyone to 65 in November 2018 and will rise to 66 by October 2020, in line with State Pension age.

You can check your State Pension age using the online calculator on the government website.

Since 15 May 2019, couples who make a new claim of Pension Credit must both be over pension age. If one person is over pension age and the other is not, the couple must claim Universal Credit instead, unless one of them received the Severe Disability Premium before the first person reached pension age. For more details please call the Parkinson's UK helpline on 0808 800 0303.

Pension Credit is made up of 2 parts:

  • Guarantee Credit 
  • Savings Credit

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to either one, or both parts. Savings Credit is currently being phased out (see below for details). 

For both parts of Pension Credit, you must be:

  • present in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • be ‘habitually resident’ and have a ‘right to reside’ in the UK, and
  • not be subject to immigration control.
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This part of Pension Credit can top up your income (such as your State Pension) to a set amount, to provide you (and your partner, if you have one) with a basic income to live on.

Extra amounts will be added if you have certain housing costs, a severe disability or caring responsibilities.

Even if you do not get much Guarantee Credit, it's always worth claiming as it can give you access to other benefits (see 'Does pension credit affect access to other benefits?' below).

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The Guarantee Credit is calculated by comparing your income with a set figure (the ‘Appropriate Minimum Guarantee’). If your income is less than this amount, you're paid the balance as Guarantee Credit.

The Appropriate Minimum Guarantee consists of a standard rate of £173.75 a week if you're a single person and £265.20 a week for a couple. If your weekly income is less than this, Guarantee Credit will top it up to this amount.

You may receive additions to this standard rate:

  • Severe disability – single person: £66.95
  • Severe disability – couple (one qualifies): £66.95
  • Severe disability – couple (both qualify): £133.90
  • Carer: £37.50

You may also get an addition to the standard rate (a loan) if you're an owner-occupier, to cover qualifying housing costs (such as certain service charges).

Since February 2019, you might also be given an additional amount if you're responsible for children.

The carer premium

The £37.50 a week 'carer premium' is available if you're eligible for Carer's Allowance. You can get this amount in your Pension Credit even if you're not actually paid Carer's Allowance (for example, because of another ‘overlapping’ benefit such as State Pension) as long as you have an underlying entitlement. See our information on Carer's Allowance to check whether you are eligible. 

What income and savings are taken into account?

All of your income is taken into account when calculating the Guarantee Credit, unless it's specifically ignored (for example, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and Housing Benefit are all ignored).

Earnings are taken into account after tax, National Insurance contributions and half of any contributions to a private pension are deducted. A small additional amount of your earnings is ignored – between £5 and £20 a week, depending on your circumstances.

Savings below a threshold of £10,000 will have no effect on your entitlement. You'll be counted as having an extra £1 a week income for every £500 (or part of £500) of savings that you have above £10,000. Certain types of capital, such as the value of your home, personal possessions and the surrender value of insurance policies will be ignored.

For more information on your likely entitlement, use the government's online pension credit calculator.

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Savings Credit was created to encourage people with a modest income to save for retirement.

Savings Credit is currently being phased out. It may still be paid if you (and your partner, if you have one) are over 65, had reached State Pension age by 6 April 2016 and have qualifying income above a certain level.

The Savings Credit calculation is complex and the amounts paid are relatively smallthe most you can get is £13.97 a week if you're single or £15.62 a week for a couple.

For more information on your likely entitlement, you can use the government's online Pension Credit calculator.

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In England, Scotland and Wales, call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 (textphone 0800 169 0133). In Northern Ireland, call 0808 100 6165.

When you phone you'll need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • information about any money you have coming in
  • details of any savings and investments you have
  • information on any service charges you must pay for your home (for example, mortgage interest payments)
  • details of the bank account you would like the Pension Credit paid into.
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If you’re awarded the Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit, you may be entitled to:

  • full help with your rent
  • help from your local council towards your Council Tax
  • help with NHS charges, vouchers for glasses and hospital travel fares.

It might also allow you access to certain schemes or tariffs from your utility provider.  

If you’re entitled to either part of Pension Credit, you may be able to get a Social Fund Funeral Payment to help with funeral expenses if a partner, child, close relative or close friend has died.

From 1 August 2020, you'll be entitled to a free TV license if you're over 75 and receive either part of Pension Credit. The BBC will contact all pensioners over 75 to see if they're exempt from paying.

You may also qualify for help to cover the interest payments on a mortgage or eligible home improvement loan through a Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan.

Download this information

Pension Credit (PDF, 124KB)

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Last updated July 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]