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!
What is Pension Credit age?
Pension Credit age is gradually increasing: in July 2017 it was 64 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:
What if my partner has reached Pension Credit age but I haven’t?
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.
How much could I get?
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.
How do I make a claim?
The easiest way to make a claim is by ringing the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
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, eg. private or works pensions.
Changes introduced in April 2016 mean that those who reach State Pension age on or after 6th April 2016 will not be eligible to make a new claim for Savings Pension Credit.
People who were already getting their State Pension, or who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, can still make a claim for 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.
No more Assessed Income Periods from April 2016
Assessed Income Periods were periods set by the Pension Service during which you did not need to report changes in your pensions, savings or investments, and your Pension Credit would not be reduced if your income or savings increase during your Assessed Income Period.
Since April 2016 no new Assessed Income Periods have been set and those which were already in place and which had been set for longer periods 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.
New rules for people who go abroad for 4 weeks or more
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 dependent 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. 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. These rules have applied since 28th July 2016.
© 2017 Housing Systems Ltd