Pension Credits – FAQ

Pension Credits FAQ

Q: What is Pension Credit?

Introduced by the government in 2003, Pension Credit is designed to help those at the poorest end of the scale at retirement. Overseen by the Pension Service, Pension Credit can help provide a low income to those who need it, or extra cash to those who already have retirement savings.

Up to a third of pensioners are currently eligible for Pension Credit, yet only a third of those people are actually claiming it. Not enquiring to find out whether you’re eligible could mean that you’re missing out on quite a lot of extra money.

There are two elements to Pension Credit; Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Q: What is Guarantee Credit?

UK citizens who have reached the minimum qualifying age can be eligible to apply for Guarantee Credit. This tops up your weekly income, making sure that you are receiving £142.70 if you are a single person and £217.90 if you are a couple (2012/13).

Q: What is Savings Credit?

UK citizens over the age of 65 may qualify for Savings Credit. You can receive Savings Credit on its own, or with Guarantee Credit. If you apply for this, your age, as well as whether you have put some money towards your retirement (for example, savings or a second pension), will be taken into account. Savings Credit may be up to £18.54 a week if you are single or £23.73 if you have a partner. Even if your weekly income is reaching £189 (for a single person) or £277 (for a couple), you may still be eligible to receive some Savings Credit.

Q: When should I apply for Pension Credit?

Currently the minimum age is 60, but this is slowly increasing. By 2018, the minimum age for a woman will be 65, increasing to 66 by 2020. You can apply for Pension Credit up to four month before the date you wish to start receiving credit.

Q: How do I claim Pension Credit?

You need to apply for Pension Credit using the form PC1 which is available from your local council, Pension Service surgery or benefits office. You can also telephone 0800 99 1234 and a representative of the Pension Service can even fill in the form for you, and send it to you to be checked. A copy of the form can also be obtained by visiting the DirectGov website.

Q: What else should I be aware of?

It is important to ask about what other benefits you are entitled to, as you may quality for funding over and above your basic pension, or pension credits. Depending on specific housing costs, disability or care responsibilities, you may be entitled to more.

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