Pension credit: how to use the calculator – who is eligible?
The online calculator can help claimants determine how much they could claim for the benefit
Here’s everything you need to know about Pension Credit – who’s eligible, how to apply and how much you could get.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is a type of benefit that pays extra money to help cover living expenses if you have more than State pension age and low income. Pension credit is separate from your state pension and you can get pension credit even if you have other income, savings or your own home.
The pension credit can also help to housing costssuch as land rent or rental charges.
You can get extra help if you are a carer, severely disabled or responsible for a child or young person.
If you get a pension credit, you can get other help such as:
Who is eligible for Pension Credit?
To claim the pension credit, you must live England, Scotland Where Wales and have reached the legal retirement age to benefit from the pension credit.
The state pension age is the earliest age at which you can start receiving your state pension, and it may be different from the age at which you receive a work or personal pension. It is important to note that the statutory retirement age is currently under review and may change in the future.
If you have a partner, you must include them in your pension credit application.
You will be eligible if you and your partner are both of state retirement age or if one of you is receiving housing benefit for people over state retirement age.
A partner is defined as either “your husband, wife or civil partner – if you live with them” or “someone you live with as a couple, not married or in a PACS”.
When applying for the pension credit, your earnings will be calculated. If you have a partner, your earnings will be calculated together.
What counts as income?
The government says income includes your state pension, other pensions, income from employment and self-employment and most social security benefits, such as child care allowance.
However, not all benefits are considered income.
For example, are not counted:
If you are entitled to a personal or occupational pension that you have not yet claimed, the amount you expect to receive still counts as income. The same applies if you have deferred your retirement pension.
If you have £10,000 or less in savings and investments this will not affect your pension credit, but if you have over £10,000 every £500 over £10,000 counts towards £1 income per week.
So, for example, if you have £11,000 in savings, that would count as income of £2 per week.
What will you get with 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
You might get extra money if you have other responsibilities and costs. These additional amounts are known as “guarantee credit”.
If you have a severe disability, you could receive an extra £69.40 per week if you have one of the following:
- Attendance allowance
- The average or highest rate of the care component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- The daily living component of the Payment for Personal Independence (PIP)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- The daily living component of the Adult Disability Payment (ADP)
If you are caring for another adult you could get an extra £38.85 per week if:
- You receive childcare allowance
- You have applied for care allowance but you are not receiving payment because you are already receiving another benefit paying a higher amount
If you and your partner have both claimed or are both receiving childcare allowance, you can both get an additional £38.85 per week.
You could claim an additional £56.35 per week for each child or young person you are responsible for. This amount is increased to £66.85 per week for the first child if born before 6 April 2017.
The child or young person should normally live with you and be under the age of 20. If he is 16 or over and under 20, he must be (or accepted):
- Approved training, such as basic apprenticeships
- A non-advanced education course, such as GCSEs or A Levels
If they are in training, it must be more than 12 hours per week on average.
Please note that if you get tax credits, you cannot claim that extra amount of child care pension credit, but you may be eligible for child tax credits.
If the child or teen is disabled, you could get:
- An extra £30.58 per week if they get DLA, PIP or ADP
- An additional £95.48 per week if they are blind or on the higher care component of DLA or CDP (Child Disability Payment), or the enhanced daily living component of PIP or ADP
What if I have savings?
You may be able to get the savings credit portion of the pension credit if both of the following apply to you:
- You reached the legal retirement age before April 6, 2016
- You have saved money for retirement, for example a personal or professional pension
You will receive up to £14.48 in savings credit per week if you are single. If you have a partner you will receive up to £16.20 per week instead.
You can still get savings credit even if you don’t get the guarantee credit part of the pension credit.
How to use the pension credit calculator?
The government has a Pension credit calculator on its website which you can use to calculate how much you could get if you successfully apply for the benefit.
To use the tool, you will need details of your income, benefits, pensions, savings and investments. You will also need the same details from your partner if you have one.
Before you begin, be aware that you cannot use the calculator if you or your partner:
- Postpone your state pension
- Own more than one property
- are independent
- Having housing costs (such as service charges or Crown tenant rent) that are neither mortgage payments nor rent covered by Housing Benefit
When you start the calculator, you will be asked for your age, gender, where you live, if you are registered as blind, if you live alone, what type of accommodation you live in if, if you have a partner and if you or your partner owns property or land.
How can I apply for a pension credit?
To claim the pension credit, you will need to submit an application. You can start your application up to four months before reaching retirement age. You can apply anytime after reaching state retirement age, but you can only backdate your application by three months.
You will need the following information for your application, as well as your partner if you have one:
- national insurance number
- Information about your income, savings and investments
- Information about your income, savings and investments as of the date you wish to backdate your application
You will also need your bank details.
Depending on how you apply, you may also need your bank or building society name, sort code and account number.
You can use the an online service to apply if you have already applied for your state pension.
Alternatively, you can apply over the phone by calling the Pension Credit Application Line on 0800 99 1234. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
You can also apply by mail by printing and completing the pension credit application form, which you will find on the Government websiteand by sending the completed form to the Pensions Service at: