Find out if you qualify for Pension Credit
It's estimated that around 17,000 Derbyshire pensioners are entitled to, but not claiming, the pension top-up, with the take-up rate for those aged over 75 at only 60%.
To help you find out if you qualify, we have staff on hand who can support you to claim your share of £41 million a year in unclaimed benefits.
Pensioners who qualify for Pension Credit get on average around £2,500 a year - just under £250 a month.
There are lots of reasons why you might not be claiming, many of which are myths.
You may still qualify for Pension Credit if:
- you have significant savings (in the tens of thousands of pounds)
- you're a couple with up to £460 a week coming in, but you both qualify for disability benefits and are carers for each other
- you own your own home
Phoning or emailing us could potentially lead you to being thousands of pounds better off.
To get help:
What Pension Credit is
Pension Credit (PC) is a means-tested or top-up benefit which is paid to people who have reached a set age and who have a low income. It has 2 parts:
- Guarantee Credit, which tops your income up if it is below what the law says you need to live on
- Savings Credit, which is intended as a small extra payment for those who have provided a little extra for their retirement, such as modest savings or another pension
Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit can be paid together. But even if your income is too high for Guarantee Credit you may get some Savings Credit.
You can now only claim Savings Credit if you reached the age to claim your State Retirement Pension on or before 6 April 2016.
Pension Credit is different from your state retirement pension - you earn your retirement pension based on your National Insurance record. Pension Credit is 'means tested' and can be paid to top up your retirement pension and other income.
You can receive Pension Credit whether you are single or living with a partner, and it can be very helpful to people who are disabled and to their carers.
Pension Credit has some special rules which allow pensioners to claim even when they have savings. Many people are not claiming it because they think they have too much in savings. Entitlement to Pension Credit depends on your unique financial and household circumstances.
Who can claim Pension Credit?
For new claims, both you and your partner must have reached pension age - the age at which you can receive state retirement pension. If you are of pension age and your partner is of working age (you are a 'mixed-age couple'), you must usually claim Universal Credit.
If you are a mixed-age couple and you have an existing claim (made before May 2019) for Pension Credit or Housing Benefit for pension age people, you retain entitlement to these benefits until and unless you lose entitlement to both Pension Credit and Housing Benefit as a pensioner.
There are also rules about people who are subject to immigration control, who do not have the 'right to reside' in Great Britain, or who are regarded as not being 'habitually resident'.
Seek advice from our helpline if you are not sure of your entitlements.
Pension age is changing
The age at which you can claim State Retirement Pension and Pension Credit is changing. This is now 66 for everyone. This age will gradually increase to 67 by 2028 for those born on after 6 April 1960.
State Pension age will be kept under review, so it could change again in the future.
You can work out when you'll become eligible for State Retirement Pension or Pension Credit.
Pension Credit does take your capital into account. This means things like your savings, shares, investments and some other assets, but not the home you live in.
The first £10,000 of your capital is ignored. Unlike some other 'means-tested' benefits, there is no upper limit of savings at which you will be refused Pension Credit.
How Pension Credit is worked out
Guarantee Credit is worked out by comparing your income (including assumed income from savings) to what the law says you need to live on. This level is set every year by parliament.
What the law says you need to live on may be higher if you're severely disabled or you're a carer. Sometimes you and your partner may both be severely disabled, and perhaps even carers for each other. This will be reflected in your Pension Credit award.
For your Pension Credit to contain an additional amount for severe disability, you must be receiving one of these qualifying benefits:
- either rate of Attendance Allowance
- the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance
- either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance paid with a War Disablement Pension or Industrial Disablement Benefit
- nobody must be receiving Carer's Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit for looking after you
- you must live 'alone' - this can still apply even when you live with a partner if you both receive a qualifying benefit
This can be complicated! Seek advice to make sure that your entitlement is correct.
Help with mortgage payments
Help with mortgage costs is available if you qualify for Guarantee Credit.
This help now comes in the form of a repayable loan, secured upon the property.
The loan does not have to be repaid until the property is sold or there is a transfer of ownership. If there is insufficient equity in the property, the loan may not have to be paid back.
The loan pays mortgage interest only, at a rate set by parliament, and may not cover your full mortgage costs as charged by your lender. There's also a limit on the size of mortgage.
Your award for housing costs may also be reduced if there is someone else living in your home, for example, a grown-up member of your family.
Seek advice, as the rules concerning mortgage interest are complicated.
Why should I claim Pension Credit?
Even if you only qualify for a small amount of Pension Credit, it can provide a 'passport' to help with other costs such as:
- maximum Housing Benefit (and unlike most HB claimants you can get HB even if your capital is over £16,000)
- Council Tax support
- free TV Licence for over-75s
- help with health costs
- social fund payments
Claiming for children
If you are responsible for a child or children (or a young person) aged under 20, you may qualify for financial help through Pension Credit. This will not apply if you already receive Child Tax Credit for them. You could also claim Child Benefit – we can offer advice on your entitlement.
Make your Pension Credit claim
You can apply for Pension Credit online, or contact The Pension Service, tel: 0800 99 12344 or textphone: 0800 169 0133 on Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Our helpline can arrange for someone from the Department for Work and Pensions to contact you to help you make your claim.
You can ask for your claim to be backdated for up to 3 months if you were entitled to claim throughout that period. You don't have to give a reason why your claim is late.
You'll usually be paid into your bank or building society account. You can choose weekly, fortnightly or 4-weekly payments.
If your circumstances change
Most changes of circumstances should be reported to the Pension Service. For example, if you were a member of a couple and you're now single, or you've separated from your partner, you or your partner go into permanent residential care. Changes in income and savings should also be reported.
To get help: