Pension Credit Advice 2015-16 Entitlements you can Claim.

Pension Credit Entitlement - Advice information.  (Updated 20th October 2015)

What is Pension Credit?

In reality, Pension Credit is a benefit to guarantee you a minimum income once you are at pension credit qualifying age. In other words, once you reach the ever increasing state pension age you will get a guaranteed income over and above the basic state pension, which for a single person is currently maximum of £113.10. If they had called it Pension Age Guaranteed Entitlement (PAGE) it would have been better understood, for that is what it is basically.

The income guarantee for those at state pension age is currently £151.20 for a single person and £230.85 for a married couple who are both at the  state pension age. So if you are a single pensioner having only the state pension as income, the government will top up a further £38.10 to take you up to the guaranteed income level of £151.20.

Worried Man with head in handsLikewise for a married couple - both pensioners - if your only income is the joint 180.90 basic state pension, you will also receive their so-called Pension Credit of 45.60 to take you up to the basic guaranteed income of 230.85.

There is a catch! If you have other income such as a part time job, and that money together with your basic state pension is more than 148.35 per week, you will already be getting the guaranteed income, so you will not get the Pension Credit addition. 

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If you or or partner have reached the Pension Credits Qualifying Age, then you will probably qualify for Pension Credit - providing that your income is below £148.35 per week. If you have a partner, and your joint income is less than £226.50, then you should also qualify for Pension Credit.

Together with this, there is the possibility - if you are now sixty five or over, that you could also get a further sum if you have 'saved' towards your retirement. This could mean as much as £44.60 for a single person and £56.95 if you are living with a partner.

This advice is meant as a guide only. Please check with your local DWP Office.

Everyone who has reached the Pension Credit Qualifying Age in the UK is entitled to Pension Credit, so yes, if you are on pension credit you are allowed to work, but it will affect and added Pension Credit you might have received!.

What you can claim on Pension Credits

Guaranteed Pension Credit

Guarantee Pension Credit simply guarantees that you will get £151.20 per week if you are a single person, and £230.85 if you are living with a partner. If you already earn that sum - either as a single person, or as having a partner, then you do not qualify for any extra money from Pension Credit. (IMPORTANT!) So if you are working on Pension Credit be aware of the figures.

The 'magic' figures again.......

  • £151.20 a week guaranteed if you are a single person of the Pension Credit Qualifying Age.
  • £230.85 a week guaranteed if you have a partner and you are at the Pension Credit Qualifying Age.
    • (Together with this, you may get more if you are disabled, have housing costs which are eligible - such as mortgage interest payments, or you have responsibilities as a carer.

Savings Pension Credit

Saving Reward

Also, if either you or your partner are aged 65 or more, you could also get a 'reward' if you have 'saved' for your retirement.

Providing you have saved towards your retirement, the reward could be as much as.....

  • £18.06 per week if you are single person
  • £22.89 per week if you have a partner
    • This savings credit may be in addition to your Guaranteed Pension Credit Entitlement, or it may simply be the savings credit that you receive - depending upon your income and circumstances.
    • There are a few different ways in which you could qualify for this 'Savings Credit' such as your own savings towards your retirement, or if you have taken out additional pensions for this reason.
    • It is possible to get this Savings Credit, even if -as a single person - you have 'income of £190.00 per week, or if you have a partner, weekly income of up to £279.00
    • Together with that, if you or your partner have a
      • Severe Disability.......or
      • You look after a person who has a severe disability.....or even if you have
      • Housing costs such as mortgage interest payments

When To Claim for Pension Credit Payments - Backdating Pension Credit Entitlement Payments

You can apply for Pension Credit up to four months before your Pension Credit Qualifying Age, but you are not entitled to the money until you have reached the Qualifying Age. If your partner is under 60 when you apply, it is not a problem and does not matter.

Providing you are eligible to claim Pension Credit Entitlement, you can get it backdated for up to three months from the date you apply. The backdating will only apply if you were entitled to Pension Credit for that three months, or part of it.

Changes to the Age of claiming Pension Credit

Gradually, the government is raising the age of pension entitlement for women. From 2010 (April 6th) the age of retirement for women will increase year by year.  At the same time - 6th April 2010 - the age of claiming Pension Credit will also have been increased.

('Partner' means husband, wife, or civil partner, or any person you live with as though you are either married or in a civil partnership)

You can apply for Pension Credit by calling 0800 99 1234  between 8.00am and 8.00pm Mondays to Fridays - NOT weekends

Can you get Pension Credit - Your Entitlement rules

If you are rich, you will not get Pension Credit. For you to be able to get your Pension Credit entitlement - you have to be 'entitled' to that credit.

Your earnings are taken into account before deciding if you are entitled to Pension Credit. If you earn over a certain amount, you will not qualify for the Pension Credit Entitlement. You are only 'entitled' to Pension Credit if you meet certain earnings criteria - rules. Not everyone over 60 yrs is 'entitled' to Pension Credit. Only those who earn very little in total. The word 'entitlement' is not a good word for the government to use. Not everyone is entitled! But the thinking was probably that 'entitlement' made people feel good about being able to get something.

If you have 'earnings' and these will include things like ......

  • Your STATE pension - or any other pension.
  • Assistance Funds or Pension Protection Fund payments
  • benefits such as Carer's allowance
  • earnings from a job of any kind - including your earnings after tax of any self-employed work you do.
  • Savings and/or investments over total of £10,000

Earnings which will NOT be included in the calculation for Pension Credit include ......

  • Attendance Allowance - AA
  • Disability Living Allowance - DLA
  • Any Christmas Bonus - paid by the government!!!
  • Housing Benefits
  • Council Tax Benefits
  • Your Savings - income, dividends and interest are not included in the calculations for earnings BUT if you have savings, then the government will count as £1 per week towards your earnings entitlement for every £500 that you have saved over and above £10,000. So, if you have savings of £10,021, then the £21 over the £10,000 ceiling will count as a £1 a week from 'earnings'. If you live permanently in a care home, then the calculations are made over £10,000. The £500 steps over the £10,000 are the same as before - £1 earnings calculated for every £500 over the £10,000.

Savings and investments that are taken into account include .....

  • Money in the bank account - including building societies or post office accounts.
  • Savings you or your partner have at home - by way of cash under the Pillow etc
  •  Premium Bonds and National Savings Certificates
  • ISAs and PEPs Investments and savings.
  • Any stock Market Shares or unit trusts
  • Bonds of any kind
  • Any Land or 'Property' you own - but not your home where you live.

That must make you feel good about the money you put away for your retirement or a rainy day!

On the plus side.....

  • If you live with your grown up family, YOU can still get Pension Credit. It is YOUR income that is taken into account. The rest of the family can earn what they like - it does not affect you claiming for YOUR Pension Credit.
  • If you own your own home, it does not stop you from applying.
  • If you are only awarded a small sum for Pension Credit, it may mean that you can get other help with such things as Council Tax Benefit and also Housing Benefit.

You should be able to claim for Pension Credit, Council Tax and Housing Benefit with the same phone call. (0800 99 1234  between 8.00am and 8.00pm Mondays to Fridays)

Self Employed - Self Assessed Taxpayers

For those who are self-assessed tax payers, you will realise that the state pension earnings you get are actually taxable - annoying - so you will need to forecast what your net earnings are for any given tax year, and also estimate what your tax liability will be, and make sure that the Pension credit Team are aware of this. If you do this incorrectly, then you could end up facing having to pay some of your Pension Credit back.

SO - Basically  If you have reached the Qualifying Age for State Pension and Pension Credit

If you are single you will probably be entitled to Pension Credit PROVIDING THAT your income is less than £148.35 each week.

If you have a partner - any age - and your weekly earnings are less than £226.50, you could be entitled to Pension Credit.

You may even be able to get more - even if you earn more than the figures above - if for instance either you or your partner are severely disabled, or have mortgage interest payments to make.

If either you or your partner have reached the Pension Credit Qualifying Age, then Pension Credit Scheme guarantees you an income of minimum .........

  • Single person - £148.35 a week.
  • Married or have partner £226.50 a week.

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