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Pension Credit

Could Pension Credit give you extra income?  Did you know that around a third of people who could be entitled to Pension Credit do not claim it? You could be missing out on extra money – read on for more information!

There are two types of Pension Credit: Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. Some people get one or the other and some people can get both. 

Guarantee Pension Credit

Guarantee Pension Credit is a benefit which people of Pension Credit Age can claim; it tops up your income to a minimum level. It is much more generous than the working age means-tested benefits. Even if you are only entitled to a small amount, the good news is that you automatically qualify for maximum help with your rent too!

Savings Pension Credit

Savings Pension Credit is for people aged 65 and over. It provides extra money to some people who have made some additional provision for their retirement, e.g. private or works pensions.

Changes from April 2016 will mean that nobody reaching State Pension age on or after 6 ​April 2016 will be eligible to make a new claim for Savings Pension Credit.

People who are already getting their State Pension, or who will reach State Pension age before the new State Pension is introduced on 6 April 2016, continue to have access to Savings Pension Credit.  However if they are a member of a couple and the younger one reaches State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, they will not have access to Savings Pension Credit unless they have already been awarded it before this date and have remained continuously entitled to it since then.


  
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​Pension Credit age is gradually increasing: in September 2015 it was 62 and 9 months, in March 2016 it is 63 and by September 2020 it will be 66. You must have reached Pension Credit age to be able to claim Pension Credit. If you are not sure when you reach Pension Credit age, you can use the gov.uk website to check when you will. See www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension.

  

​If you are a couple and one of you has reached Pension Credit age, you can make a claim for Pension Credit. But this is something that will change in the future – 'mixed age couples' will have to claim Universal Credit instead, which is much less generous. So it is worth checking if you could be entitled, and claim Pension Credit now; if you do get Pension Credit you can stay on it for as long as you remain entitled to it and will not have to change to Universal Credit.

  

​Guarantee Pension Credit tops up your income to a certain level. The amount you could get depends on whether you are single or a couple and whether you have certain circumstances that mean you need more money to live on. Because it is a top-up benefit, the amount you can get also depends on the amount and type of other income you receive and the level of any savings you have above £10,000. 

  

​The easiest way to make a claim is by ringing the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

  

​Assessed Income Periods are periods set by the Pension Service during which you don't need to report changes in your pensions, savings or investments, which means your Pension Credit is not reduced if your income or savings increase during your Assessed Income Period.

From April 2016 no new Assessed Income Periods will be set and those already in place which have been set for longer periods will be ended earlier. ​

This means people who get Pension Credit will need to report all changes in their circumstances that could affect their entitlement straight away.

  

From 28 July 2016 if you go abroad, outside Great Britain, and you do not intend to be back within 4 weeks or you are not back home within 4 weeks, your Pension Credit (and Housing Benefit) will stop. There are exceptions – there is a 26-week limit for if you, your partner or dependant child are in hospital or undergoing medical treatment abroad and an 8-week limit if you are abroad due to the death of a close relative.  If you go to Northern Ireland, this counts as abroad under the new rules; they affect anyone away from Great Britain. When you go abroad you must expect to return home within the 4 (or 8 or 26) weeks and actually be back within that time period.​

  

​Assessed Income Periods are periods set by the Pension Service during which you don't need to report changes in your pensions, savings or investments, which means your Pension Credit is not reduced if your income or savings increase during your Assessed Income Period.

From April 2016 no new Assessed Income Periods will be set and those already in place will be ended earlier.

This means people who get Pension Credit will need to report all changes in their circumstances that could affect their entitlement straight away.