Do I qualify for Pension Credits?



Do I qualify for Pension Credits?

You will potentially qualify for Pension Credits if you are on a low income after the age of sixty (woman) or 65 (man).

With the recent increase in the State Pension age, the Pension Credit qualifying age will also be effected. To find out the age when you may be able to apply for Pension Credit, you can use a State Pension age calculator.

Pension Credits are split into two parts. The first, called Guarantee Credit, ensures those over sixty, who have reached the minimum qualifying age, will receive a minimum weekly income of £142.70 if they are single, and if they have a partner they will receive a minimum of £217.90 a week (2012/13). If your income already exceeds these weekly amounts then you will not be eligible to claim pension credits. However if your income falls below these amounts, pension credits will supplement your income to match these sums.

You have to be entitled to claim pension credit and this entitlement is based on your income and on your savings and investments. Your income will include;

  • Your earnings from your employment (including self employed).
  • Any State or private pension you receive.
  • Assistance funds/ Pension protection plans.
  • Certain benefits you may receive, such as a Carers Allowance.

Your savings and investments will include;

  • Savings in any bank/ building society or post office accounts you hold.
  • Premium Bonds and National Savings Certificates.
  • ISAs and PEPs.
  • Any land or property you own other than your own home.
  • Stock market or company shares.
  • Other investments.

Earnings and savings that are not considered when calculating your pension credits eligibility;

  • Any savings below £10,000.
  • Council Tax benefits/Housing benefits.
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Attendance Allowance (AA).

It does not matter what anyone else you live with earns. Pension credits are calculated solely on your income and savings. If you are living with any of your adult children, their earnings or assets are not taken into consideration, only yours.

Owning your own home will not stop you qualifying for pension credits, regardless of its value. Only additional properties are taken into account.

From the age of sixty-five and over you can qualify for a further supplement above the £142.70 a week for a single person or the £217.90 for a person living with a partner. This is the Saving Credit. Provided you have saved towards your retirement, a single person over sixty-five may be entitled to an extra £18.54 weekly, and someone living with a partner may be eligible for an extra amount up to £23.73 a week in the form of the Saving Credit.

To find out more about Pension Credits and to apply, you can call The Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.

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