Pension credit is designed to help boost the state pension if you're less well off. It's means tested and tops up income to a guaranteed amount. There are two parts to pension credit, savings credit and guarantee credit.
Savings credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, for example a pension. You may not be eligible for savings credit if you reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
It's only paid to people in the following circumstances:
- If you were getting savings credit until 6 April 2016
- If you're a couple and one of you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016.
Savings credit can be up to £13.20 for a single person and £14.90 a week for couples (2017-18).
The guarantee credit part of pension credit is available to pensioners on low incomes. It tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level set by the government.
Can I get guarantee credit?
- You (or your partner) must have reached pension qualifying age. The minimum age for guarantee credit is gradually rising from 60 to 66. If you need to find out when you will reach pensionable age, go to this page on Which? Money to use the state pension age calculator.
- Your income must be below a certain amount per week. Generally (2017-18), this is less than £159.35 if you’re single, or £243.25 if you’re a couple.
- There is no savings limit for guarantee credit, but if you have more than £10,000, this will affect the amount you receive.
- You must live in Great Britain.
How much is pension credit?
- Guarantee credit tops up weekly income to at least £159.35 per week for single people and £243.25 for couples (2017-18).
What do I need to know about pension credit?
- Pension credit is an income-based benefit, so income and savings are taken into account.
- Pension credit can be helpful to top up income for people receiving Carer’s allowance or disability benefits.
- You don’t pay tax on pension credit.
- You could get significantly more if you’re a carer, severely disabled or have certain housing costs. For example, carers could get an additional £34.95 per week with the Carer Addition, and those on severe disability premiums could get £62.45 per week with the Severe Disability Addition. People with high housing costs, such as service charges, ground rents or mortgage interest payments, could receive extra to help cover those.
- It’s worth claiming pension credit even if you're only entitled to a few pounds. Receiving pension credit guarantee credit means that you're also eligible for housing benefit and council tax reduction.
How do I apply for pension credit?
You can apply for pension credit by filling in the PC1 form. You can request this form by calling the helpline below.
By phone: call the Pension Credit Claim line (Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm) on 0800 99 1234. You can answer questions over the phone and they will fill in the claim for you.
- State pension explained - pension credit: the Which? Money guide to pension credit for further information.
- Carer's allowance: information about who can apply for this government benefit and how.
- Financing care at home and Financing a care home: our guides to negotiating your way through these complex areas.
Page last reviewed: April 2017
Next review due: April 2018