What is Pension Credit? How do you qualify for it and how much it is worth? Find out more below.
Am I entitled to Pension Credit if I am blind or partially sighted?
Pension Credit is a benefit for anyone who has reached the qualifying age and has a relatively low income. You may get it even if you have some savings and modest retirement income. It can be paid on top of your state retirement pension. If you have built up a pot of money through a defined contribution pension, how and when you choose to draw money out of it will affect the amount of Pension Credit you can receive. Further details on how your pension affects your Pension Credit entitlement can be found on GOV.UK Pension freedoms and DWP benefits.
The elements of Pension Credit were previously Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Savings Credit started being phased out in 2016 and is now only available to existing recipients. Guarantee Credit is for people who have reached the qualifying age and is designed to top up your income to a minimum level. This is rising with the minimum State Pension age for women. Our factsheet explains more about this.
This is the part of Pension Credit that guarantees you a minimum level of income. Should you qualify, the standard minimum you are guaranteed is:
- £201.05 if you are single
- £306.85 if you have a partner.
To qualify, you must be at the qualifying age and your weekly income, including income from savings, must usually be less than the above amounts.
You may still be able to qualify for Pension Credit if your weekly income is over the above amounts. This may be possible if you qualify for an additional amount for severe disability or for being a carer; or if you have eligible housing costs such as mortgage interest. The additional amounts often apply to blind and partially sighted people.
If you are entitled to Guarantee Credit, you will also qualify for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support regardless of the level of your savings. If you receive savings credit only, you will have to make a separate application for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
Your claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support can be backdated for up to three months, if you qualified during that period.
Savings Credit started being phased out in 2016 and is now only available to existing recipients. The Savings Credit is for people aged 65 or over who have modest savings and capital or retirement income. It does not matter if you have a partner who is under 60. This credit provides extra money each week of up to:
- £15.94 if you are single
- £17.84 if you have a partner.
To be able to get the savings Pension Credit you must have qualifying income above the 'savings credit threshold' of:
- £174.49 if you are single
- £277.12 if you are a couple.
Additional amounts for severe disability and for carers
You may also be entitled to an extra amount for severe disability:
- £76.40 a week if you are single or for a couple when only one person qualifies
- £152.80 a week for a couple if you both qualify.
Our factsheet outlines the qualifying conditions for this.
You and your partner can also get an extra amount for being a carer. You can get this Carer's Premium either because you get Carer's Allowance or because you could get it but aren't paid it because of your state pension. The Carer's Premium is worth £42.75 a week.
You can also claim extra amounts for dependent children living with you through Pension Credit.
How do I apply for Pension Credit?
The DWP has introduced a new service so pensioners can now apply for Pension Credit online.
You can also claim by telephone if you live in England, Wales or Scotland, by calling The Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. If you have speech or hearing difficulties, the textphone number is 0800 169 0133. You can also send an application form in the post, please see our Pension Credit factsheet below for details.
You can also apply for help with your rent and council tax at the same time as applying for Pension Credit. Complete a three-page claim form, HCTB1 (PCA).
Pension Service staff can fill in an application form for you over the phone if you wish. They will then post the completed form to you so that you can check it and sign it.
You will need to provide:
- your National Insurance number
- information about your pensions and other income
- details of your capital, savings and investments.
Pension Credit can be backdated for up to three months if you qualified during that period.
Getting help with Pension Credit
The calculation for Pension Credit, especially the savings credit, is complicated. We have written a factsheet that you can download that explains more about what counts as income or savings for the calculation:
Our Cost of Living: advice on Pension Credit video can also further explain what you may be entitled to.
Advice you can trust
Our Advisers receive specialist training on topics related to living with sight loss, and many have personal experience of sight loss themselves.
Advisers are accredited with the Advice Quality Standard, an independent accreditation for organisations giving advice to the general public.