What is Pension Credit – and how do I get it?

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Kirsty Kerr

June 12, 2023

3 mins read

Over one million people are missing out on Pension Credit – worth £3,900 extra a year on average in retirement. We cover what Pension Credit is, how to claim it and how much you might get, so you can be sure you’re not missing out.

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is a benefit offered to people who have reached State Pension age and have a low income. It gives you a top up to your weekly income to help cover your day-to-day costs.

Who can claim Pension Credit?

To claim Pension Credit, you need to have reached State Pension age. You can check your State Pension age on the gov.uk website. If you have a partner, then you both need to have reached State Pension age to claim it. If one partner has reached State Pension age and the other hasn’t, then neither will receive Pension Credit. 

Your income also needs to be classed as ‘low’. Your income includes your State Pension, income from other pensions or employment and some benefits – like Carer’s Allowance, for example. When you apply for Pension Credit, you’ll need to provide information about all of your savings, investments and other sources of income, and then your total income will be calculated for you. If you have savings worth over £10,000, you’ll potentially still be able to get Pension Credit, but it will reduce the amount you can get. If you have a partner, your income will be calculated together. 

You can still claim Pension Credit if you’re working, and you don’t have to have paid any National Insurance contributions either.

You can use the government’s Pension Credit calculator to see if you meet the criteria. 

How much Pension Credit can I get?

In the 2023/24 tax year, Pension Credit generally tops your income up to £201.05 a week for a single person and £306.85 for a couple. But keep in mind the amount you can get is increasing by 8.5% in the 2024/25 tax year.

You might be able to get more than this if you have other responsibilities or costs, for example if you have a severe disability, care for another adult or if you’re responsible for children. Or you could get less if you have over £10,000 in savings, as we mentioned earlier.

You can use the same government Pension Credit calculator to see how much you could get.

How do I claim Pension Credit?

You can apply for Pension Credit online, over the phone or by post. You can start your application up to four months before you reach State Pension age, or any time after you reach State Pension age. But keep in mind that your application can only be backdated by three months. So it’s best to be prepared if you can.

When making your claim, you’ll need:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of your income – including any benefits or pension income
  • Details of any savings and investments

If you have a partner, you’ll need to provide the same information about them.

More help and support

If you’re struggling with rising costs, Pension Credit could offer the help you need, if you’re eligible. If you’re not eligible, there are other places you can turn to for help and support.

Read our article to find out how you might find out if you’re eligible for other benefits, or visit our website for helpful support and resources with everyday money worries

The information in this article is based on our understanding in June 2023 and should not be regarded as financial advice. 

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.

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