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Pension Credit

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit, also known as state pension credit, is a benefit for people who are on a low income and have reached pension age.

Pension Credit has two parts:

  • guarantee credit, where an amount known as an 'appropriate minimum guarantee' is calculated. If your income is below this minimum guarantee, the guarantee credit makes up the difference.
  • savings credit, which gives you extra money if you have saved for retirement. It is intended to 'reward' you for having income from earnings, savings or pensions over the level of the basic pension.

You can get one or both of these parts if you satisfy the rules.

Who can claim Pension Credit?

The guarantee credit is available to those who are classified as being of state pension age (based on the pension age of a woman). For more information see changes to state pension age.

The savings credit is only available if you or your partner reached state pension age before 6 April 2016. See Pension Credit savings credit eligibility change.

If you go through the calculator we will work out whether you are entitled to Pension Credit and how much you might be able to claim.

The calculator indicates whether you are entitled to the guarantee credit and/or the savings credit. It also indicates the total amount of Pension Credit you could get – if you are entitled to both elements this is your guarantee credit and savings credit added together. The calculator will indicate whether you could be affected by the change in eligibility for savings credit.

Important note for couples

Changes to the way that couples are treated when one member is over the age for Pension Credit and the other member is under Pension Credit age (known as 'mixed age' couples) came into place in May 2019.

Since 15 May 2019 eligibility for Pension Credit has been determined by the age of the younger person in a couple (before this date it was based on the older person). In most cases this now mean these couples will need to claim Universal Credit instead of Pension Credit.

This does not affect you if both you and your partner are over State Pension age.

Guarantee Credit

The Guarantee Credit works by topping up your weekly income. From April 2024 your income could be topped up to:

  • £218.15 if you are single
  • £332.95 if you have a partner

These amounts may be more if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or certain housing costs, such as mortgage interest payments.

Savings Credit

You may get the savings credit on its own or with the guarantee credit. From April 2024 the savings credit can be up to:

  • £17.01 a week if you are single
  • £19.04 a week if you have a partner

These amounts may be more if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or certain housing costs, such as mortgage interest payments.

Other benefits

Guarantee credit will passport you to entitlement to other benefits. See passported benefits for more information.

How do I claim Pension Credit?

You may receive a letter before you reach your State Pension age or Pension Credit qualifying age if you already receive a benefit from Jobcentre Plus, The Pension Service or the Disability and Careers Service. The letter will tell you what you need to do next.

You can apply online if you have already applied for your State Pension. Or, if not, you can call The Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 or textphone 0800 169 0133. Lines are open 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). For Northern Ireland please apply via the NIdirect website.

When you phone, you need the following information:

  • your National Insurance number
  • information about your savings, investments and income
  • details of the account into which you would like any Pension Credit payments to be paid

An adviser will help you apply for Pension Credit and let you know what happens next.

The Pension Service can also help you apply for other benefits at the same time as your application for Pension Credit.

When to apply for Pension Credit

You can apply up to four months before the date from which you want to start getting Pension Credit. The Pension Credit qualifying age is gradually increasing in line with the increase in women’s State Pension age. The maximum period that your Pension Credit claim can be backdated is three months. If you want Pension Credit to start from a past or future date, you need to tell The Pension Service when you apply.

If you are over the age of 65 you may be given a Pension Credit award that lasts for 5 years or longer. This is known as the assessed income period. During this period annual adjustments will be made automatically for increases in your state and private pensions and you do not need to report most changes in your savings or pension income. For more information see assessed income periods.

Third Party Deductions

When you claim Pension Credit you can pay bills and debts directly from your benefit. This is called a Third Party Deduction, to find out more about this see Third Party Deductions.