More than 12 million people in the UK are estimated to receive state pension, as of February 2021.
The current full state pension is £179.60 a week, or about £9,339 a year, but it was revealed earlier this week that payments are set to rise by a further £290 a year next year .
The state pension is set to rise by up to £5.50 a week next April after the rate of inflation hit 3.1% in September. You can read more about that here.
But DWP figures estimate about one million people are missing out on another pension support, which could entitle you to hundreds of pounds, as well as reductions on bills such as council tax and a free TV Licence.
Here’s what you need to know about pension credit, whether you are eligible and how to apply.
What is pension credit?
According to the UK government website, pension credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over state pension age and on a low income.
Pension credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges.
You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person. Pension credit is separate from your state pension, and you can get it even if you have other income, savings or own your own home.
How do I find out if I’m eligible?
You must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached state pension age – the earliest age you can start receiving your state pension – to claim pension credit. To check your state pension age, click here.
You must include your partner on your application if you have one. A partner is either your husband, wife or civil partner, if you live with them, or someone you live with as a couple, without being married or in a civil partnership. You’ll be eligible if either:
- you and your partner have both reached state pension age
- one of you is getting housing benefit for people over state pension age
When you apply for pension credit, your income is calculated. If you have a partner, your income is calculated together.
How much will I get?
Pension credit tops up your weekly income to £177.10 if you’re single, or your joint weekly income to £270.30 if you have a partner.
If your income is higher, you might still be eligible for pension credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, you have savings or you have housing costs.
When calculating your entitlement, your income includes state pension, other pensions, earnings from employment and self-employment and most social security benefits, for example carer’s allowance.
The following benefits are not counted:
- Attendance allowance
- Christmas bonus
- Child benefit
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- social fund payments like winter fuel allowance
- Housing benefit
- Council tax reduction
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You could also get an extra £67.30 a week if you get any of the following:
- Attendance allowance
- the middle or highest rate from the care component of disability living allowance (DLA)
- the daily living component of PIP
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You could get an extra £37.70 a week if you get carer’s allowance or if you’ve claimed it but are not being paid because you already get another benefit paying a higher amount. If you and your partner have both claimed or are getting carer’s allowance, you can both get this extra amount.
You could get an extra £54.60 a week for each child or young person you’re responsible for. This is increased to £65.10 a week for the first child if they were born before April 6, 2017. The child or young person must normally live with you and be under the age of 20.
If they’re 16 or over and under 20, they must be in (or accepted for) approved training, such as foundation apprenticeships, or a course of non-advanced education (for example, they’re studying for GCSEs or A levels). If they’re in education, it must be for more than 12 hours a week on average.
If the child or young person is disabled, you could also get an extra amount of either £29.66 a week if they get DLA or PIP, or £92.54 a week if they’re blind or they get the highest rate care component of DLA, or the enhanced daily living component of PIP.
How do I apply?
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age. You can apply any time after you reach state pension age but your application can only be backdated by three months. This means you can get up to three months of pension credit in your first payment, if you were eligible during that time.
To apply, you’ll need your National Insurance number, information about any income, savings and investments you have, and information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually three months ago or the date you reached state pension age). You’ll also need your bank account details if you’re applying by phone or by post.
You can apply online here or by phone on 0800 99 1234 or textphone 0800 169 0133. If you can’t hear or speak on the phone you can call 18001 then 0800 99 1234. The address to apply by post is The Pension Service 8, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AN.
What other help is available?
If you get pension credit you can also get other help, such as:
- Housing benefit if you rent the property you live in
- Support for mortgage interest if you own the property you live in
- Council tax reduction
- a free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
- help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- help with your heating costs
To find out more click here.
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