Pension credit – what it is, who is entitled to it and how much you could receive

Pension credit can be an invaluable supplement to pension payments. Anyone over the statutory retirement age is eligible for the Supplementary Weekly Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Individuals in four groups can apply for additional pension credit assistance. It gives you extra money to help cover your living expenses if you have a low income or struggle with housing costs such as ground rent or utility charges.

Although separate from your state pension, this supplement is only available to people who have reached state pension age. You can get a pension credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home – and according to recent figures from the DWP, this could boost your income significantly.

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What is Pension Credit?

The pension credit is a supplementary scheme accessible to people who have reached retirement age. It is only available to people who reached the legal retirement age before April 6, 2016.

Additional pension credit amounts may be available to individuals depending on their circumstances. For example, a person may receive additional support if they are carers, severely disabled or responsible for a child or young person.

The pension credit has two elements, called guarantee credit and savings credit. Secured credit offers the highest amount of support.

Pensioners claiming the guarantee credit could benefit from additional income. This will be increased to a maximum level of:

  • £182.60 if single
  • £278.70 if they have a partner.

The savings loan pays a lower amount to people with higher incomes. Beneficiaries of the savings loan could receive:

  • £14.48 per week if single
  • £16.20 per week if they are a couple.

Who is eligible for Pension Credit?

You must live in England, Scotland or Wales and be of statutory retirement age to be eligible for pension credit. is only available to people who reached the legal retirement age before April 6, 2016.

The government website has the following advice on who is eligible for pension credit. It is said:

If you have a partner

You must include your partner in your application.

You will be eligible if:

  • you and your partner have both reached the legal retirement age
  • one of you receives housing benefit for people over state retirement age

A partner is either:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner – if you live with them
  • someone with whom you live as a couple, without being married or in a civil partnership

When you apply for pension credit, your income is calculated. If you have a partner, your earnings are calculated together.

Recharge of the pension credit:

  • your weekly income at £182.60 if you are single
  • your joint weekly income at £278.70 if you have a partner

If your income is higher, you may still qualify for pension credit if you have a disability, are caring for someone, have savings, or have housing costs. Your income includes:

  • State pension
  • other retreats
  • income from employment and self-employment
  • most social security benefits, e.g. care allowance

Not all benefits count as your income. The following benefits are not counted:

  • Disabled adult payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Christmas Bonuses
  • Family allowances
  • Disabled allowance
  • Payment for personal independence
  • social fund payments like winter fuel allowance
  • Housing allowance
  • Residence tax reduction

If you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments this will not affect your pension credit. If you have more than £10,000, every £500 over £10,000 counts as £1 of income per week; for example, if you have £11,000 in savings, this counts as income of £2 per week.

How to apply for pension credit

Pension credit applications can be made online via the Gov.uk website. Alternatively, you can apply by phone on 0800 99 1234 or by post, you can also find out more about the exact amount you are entitled to via the government website.

You can submit your application up to four months before reaching the legal retirement age. Claims can also be backdated up to three months.