State pension explained Do I qualify for pension credit?
Pension credit is a means-tested top-up to basic state pension that is paid if your total income from all sources falls below a certain level (the minimum income guarantee). For 2012-13 this is £142.70 for a single person and £217.90 for a couple.
Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance are not counted as income for the Pension credit means test.
When can I receive pension credit?
The age at which you can start to receive pension credit is currently 61, although it is steadily rising in line with the state pension age for women, and will be 65 by 2018.
An extra amount of pension credit, known as savings credit, is available for those aged 65 or above who are in receipt of pension credit and who have modest retirement income from another source. The additional amount payable can be up to £20.52 per week for a single person and £27.09 for a couple, but is progressively reduced if the additional income is above a certain amount (£111.80 for a single person or £178.35 for a couple).
Further details of rates and eligibility are given at Directgov.
Proposals to end pension credit
In 2016, the savings credit element of pension credit will be abolished under new rules to create a simpler pension system. A flat rate state pension of £144 a week will be implemented, meaning that everyone who qualified for full state pension would automatically receive more than the minimum income guarantee without means-testing or the need to apply for supplementary pension income.