Wondering what pension credit is and whether you are eligible? We explain everything you need to know including how to calculate how much you could get.
Pension credit is tax-free financial support available to thousands but many people may not realise they are entitled to it.
The government has urged pensioners urged to check if they could be eligible for pension credit, which is worth more than £3,500 a year on average.
In this guide we answer:
- What is pension credit?
- How much pension credit can I have?
- Who is eligible for pension credit?
- What’s the difference between pension credit and the state pension
- How to apply for pension credit
Read more: State pension: how much will I get?
What is pension credit?
Pension credit is a means-tested weekly benefit for people who are over state pension age and on a low income.
If you are eligible, you will also be entitled to other benefits such as free prescriptions.
Anyone who successfully claims for pension credit by 19 May could also receive a £301 cost of living payment.
What is guaranteed pension credit?
There are two types of pension credit:
- Guarantee credit: an income top-up if you are on a low income
- Savings credit: a smaller benefit paid to those who have prepared for retirement with some savings or income
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be entitled to one or both parts. You can claim pension credit regardless of whether you are still working or not.
From 10 April, pension credit payments increased by last September’s inflation figure of 10.1%.
Read more: Should I defer my state pension?
What other benefits can I qualify for?
If you qualify for pension credit, you won’t only get cash from that benefit but it may also entitled you to claim other benefits as well.
- Some one-off cost of living payments
- Reduced or no council tax at all (depending on who else you live with)
- You may get your rent paid in full by Housing Benefit
- Homeowners may be eligible for help with mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges
- Free home insulation and replacement-boiler grants
- Free TV licence if you are over 74
- Warm home discountand Cold Weather Payment of £25 when the temperature is 0°C or below for 7 consecutive days
- Help with NHS costs such as prescriptions, glasses and dental treatment, and transport costs to hospital appointments
- Extra £42.70 a week if you are in receipt of carer’s allowance
If you claim before 19 May 2013 then you should be entitled to a £301 cost of living payment too.
How much pension credit can I have?
The pension credit amount you receive depends on your circumstances.
There isn’t a savings limit for pension credit but if you have over £10,000 in savings in the bank, this will affect how much you receive.
You can find out more about pension credit eligibility on the government website.
From 10 April all pension credit payments increased by 10.1%, which was last September’s inflation rate.
Guarantee credit amount
If you meet the eligibility criteria, this will top up your weekly income to:
- £201.05 if you’re single (up from £182.60 in the last tax year)
- £306.85 if you have a partner as joint weekly income (up from £278.70)
You may still be able to claim if you have a higher income or extra amounts if you are on a low income, if you:
- Have a severe disability then you might be entitled to an extra £76.40 a week (up from £69.40 in the last tax year)
- Care for someone if you’re in receipt of carer’s allowance, giving you an extra £42.75 a week (up from £38.85 last year)
- Have savings
- Have housing costs
To be eligible, you need to be in receipt of either:
- Attendance allowance
- Armed forces independence payment
- The daily living component of the personal independence payment
- The middle or highest rate from the care component of disability living allowance
Savings credit amount
If you meet the eligibility criteria, this will top up your weekly income by:
- Up to £15.94a week if you are a single pensioner (up from £14.48 a week in the last tax year)
- Up to £17.84 a week for couples (an increase from £16.20 a week)
You must have reached the state pension age before 6 April 2016 to claim savings credit and earn over a particular weekly threshold. But for couples, if just one partner satisfies all the conditions, you may still be eligible.
You don’t have to be eligible for the pension guarantee credit to qualify for the savings element. Remember, owning your own home and having modest savings should not deter you from checking how much you could claim.
There is no pension credit savings limit, but if you have more than £10,000, it will affect the amount of the credits you will receive.
Who is eligible for pension credit?
The eligibility criteria for the guarantee pension credit and the savings pension credit are different.
We explain who is eligible for the two types of pension credit below.
This credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum amount.
To be eligible:
- You must live in England, Scotland or Wales
- Applicants must be of pension credit age (so the same as your state pension age)
- If you are in a couple, you must both have reached state pension age
- You don’t need to be married or in a civil partnership. Living together classes you as a couple
- You must be on a low income
The state pension age is now the same for men and women and is gradually increasing, which makes it a little more complicated to work out. You can use the government’s calculator to help you work out when you can claim.
The income used in your assessment is what you receive from work, state and private pensions and any interest earned from savings over £10,000.
If you exceed the income limits for guarantee credit, you may still be able to claim pension savings credit.
What counts as income and savings?
When calculating what you are entitled to, your income will be taken into account. This includes:
- Any wages from work
- State pension or other pension income
- Most social security benefits, for example carer’s allowance
However, it is important to note that not all benefits are counted as income and will not be taken into consideration when working out your entitlement. The benefits not considered income include:
- Housing benefit or council tax reduction
- Attendance allowance
- Disability living allowance or personal independence payment
- Payments such as the winter fuel allowance
- Child benefit
You also need to consider what savings and investments you have because they will affect the amount of pension credit you get. They include:
- Cash in the bank or savings accounts
- Shares and other investments
- Property that you own such as buy-to-let that doesn’t include your main home that you are living in
If you have less than £10,000 in savings or investments, this won’t affect your pension credit.
But if you have more than £10,000 in savings, there is a calculation the government uses.
For every £500 of savings you have that exceeds £10,000, you will be treated as having £1 per week of income from those savings. So if you have £12,000 in savings, the assumption is that you get £4 a week in income from that money.
This part of pension credit is only available to those who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016. The maximum state pension for this group is currently £156.20 a week.
In order to qualify for the savings credit part, you must have:
- Reached state pension age before 6 April 2016. If this does not apply to you, you may still be eligible if you are in a couple and your partner retired by this date
- Saved some money for retirement such as through a private pension
- A weekly income, known as the savings credit threshold, of at least:
- £174.49 if you are single (an increase from £158.47 in the last tax year)
- £277.12 if you are claiming as a couple (up from £251.70 in the last tax year)
The income rules for savings credit are different to those of guarantee credit, so you do not count any income that you receive from:
- Working tax credits, contributory ESA or contributory JSA
- Incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance
- Maternity allowance
- Maintenance payments
You can use the government’s pension credit calculator to check your eligibility and entitlement. Our ways to boost your pension pot guide for more ideas on how to make your pension stretch.
How do I get pension credits?
It is important to consider applying for pension credits, even if you have been turned down in the past.
You should make a new claim every tax year. This is because rates, thresholds and your circumstances can change. Use a benefits calculator to see what you’re entitled to.
You can start your pension credit application:
- In the four months before you reach state pension age
- Or after you reach state pension age (however your application can only be backdated by three months so don’t leave it too late)
To apply you will need your national insurance number and details about your income.
You can apply online using the government website.
What’s the difference between state pension and pension credit?
The state pension is your entitlement to a retirement income from the government. Pension credit is a top-up to your weekly income.
In other words, you might be able to claim the state pension and pension credit at the same time.
The amount you will receive in state pension is based on:
- National insurance contributions you have paid during your working life
- Or national insurance credits you have built up during times when you were off work, such as bringing up children and claiming child benefit
Under the new pensions system for those reaching retirement age after 6 April 2016, the maximum amount you can receive in your state pension is currently £203.85 a week.
Find out more in our article how much state pension will I get?
You can claim pension credit whether or not you are still working. It is not taxed and you do not need to have made any national insurance contributions.
IMPORTANT: Pension credit is not paid automatically, which is why so many people are missing out.
You must apply and have your income and savings assessed to check whether you are eligible.
How to apply for pension credit
To claim for pension credit, you will need the following to hand:
- National insurance number
- Bank account and sort code
- Details of your income, savings and investments
You can phone the pension credit claim line on 0800 991 234 and an adviser will complete the application for you. Or you can apply online or by post.
You will need to print off a claim form or call the claim line to ask for one. Post it back to The Pension Service 8, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton WV99 1AN.
Although you must be of state pension age to be eligible, you can apply for pension credit up to four months before you want to start receiving it.
You can apply any time after you have reached state pension age. But your claim can only be backdated by up to three months.
What are pension credits for grandparents?
If you are caring for any grandchildren under 12 years old, you could qualify for Class 3 National Insurance credits that can top up your retirement income.
Thousands of working-age grandmothers and fathers are missing out on the benefit which was introduced in 2011.
A working parent who is receiving child benefit is able to donate the national insurance credit that comes with the benefit to a grandparent – or other adult family members – who are helping to look after that child.
Parents need to complete a form and sign over the credits to the ‘specified adult’. It can only be given to one person and they must be under pension age as NI credits don’t count for years after pension age.
Credit is awarded on a weekly basis, so any missing weeks during the year could be filled with voluntary NI contributions cheaply. You can find more details about the scheme on the government website.
How to check my pension credits
The credits are paid direct to your bank, building society or Post Office account every four weeks.
Read the experiences of one Times Money Mentor reader: “I started paying into a pension aged 22“.
Some of the products promoted are from our affiliate partners from whom we receive compensation. While we aim to feature some of the best products available, we cannot review every product on the market.
The amount you can get depends on whether you meet the 'savings credit threshold. ' You must have a weekly income of at least £174.49 a week if you're single or £277.12 a week if you're claiming as a couple.What's the most you can get on Pension Credit? ›
You'll get up to £15.94 Savings Credit a week if you're single. If you have a partner, you'll get up to £17.84 a week. You might still get some Savings Credit even if you do not get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.How much money can you have in the bank and still claim benefits UK? ›
You can have up to £10,000 in savings before it affects your claim. Every £500 over that amount counts as £1 of weekly income. If you get Pension Credit guarantee credit, you can have more than £16,000 in savings without it affecting your Housing Benefit.How much pension will I get when I retire UK? ›
The full new State Pension is £203.85 per week. The only reasons you can get more than the full State Pension are if: you have over a certain amount of Additional State Pension. you defer (delay) taking your State Pension.Who is eligible for Pension Credit UK? ›
You'll be eligible if either: you and your partner have both reached State Pension age. one of you is getting Housing Benefit for people over State Pension age.What do you get free at 60 UK? ›
In the UK, everyone over the age of 60 gets free prescriptions and NHS eye tests. You can also get free NHS dental treatment if you're over 60 and claiming pension guarantee credits or other benefits if you're under state pension age.What pension will 150 000 buy UK? ›
With a £150,000 pot, you could get a monthly income of about £446 or an annual income of £5,363 with an annuity, the online annuity calculator from Money Helper suggests.Does pension count as income for Social Security? ›
Pension payments, annuities, and the interest or dividends from your savings and investments are not earnings for Social Security purposes. You may need to pay income tax, but you do not pay Social Security taxes.Can I retire if I have 40 credits? ›
Although you need at least 10 years of work (40 credits) to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, we base the amount of your benefit on your highest 35 years of earnings.How much is Pension Credit a week UK? ›
If you have savings or a second pension
You'll get up to £15.94 Savings Credit a week if you're single. If you have a partner, you'll get up to £17.84 a week. You might still get some Savings Credit even if you do not get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.
You must declare cash of £10,000 or more to UK customs if you're carrying it between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and a country outside the UK. If you're travelling as a family or group with more than £10,000 in total (even if individuals are carrying less than that) you still need to make a declaration.What happens if you inherit money while on benefits UK? ›
If you Inherit Money While on Benefits, then it can affect your benefits due to the fact most of them are means-tested. This essentially means that once the income or savings has managed to exceed some kind of threshold, the benefits could get reduced or even completely cease to exist.What is the average monthly pension in the UK? ›
On face value the question of 'what is the average' is a simple one, the answer is £511 per week (£26,572 p.a.) for a retired couple and £246 per week (£12,792 p.a.) for a single retiree as per the most up to date Government's Pensioners' income figures.How much is the average pension in the UK per month? ›
The actual average retirement pension income in the UK is £361 per week, which works out as £18,772 per year, or £1,564 per month. (GOV.UK). That's enough to get by, but not enough for a comfortable retirement.What is the average pension at 65 in the UK? ›
|Age||25th percentile||Median (50th percentile)|
The standard minimum income guarantee for those receiving Pension Credit will also increase in line with inflation – 10.1% – from April 2023.How much does a married couple need to retire UK? ›
To achieve a 'comfortable' lifestyle, including 3 weeks' holiday a year and running 2 cars, a couple would need a figure closer to £54,000 a year. Our nifty retirement calculator will show you the projected income you'll need based on the lifestyle you'd like to have in retirement.How much savings can I have on PIP? ›
There is no savings limit for PIP - you can have as much money in the bank as you like. There is also no limit on your income - you can still claim PIP if you have a regular income. PIP is assessed on your ability to complete everyday tasks and look after yourself properly if you have a physical or mental condition.Do you get free dental treatment at 60 in England? ›
NHS dental treatment doesn't become free when you reach a certain age, but you may be eligible for free dental treatment if you or your partner receive certain benefits. Let the receptionist know if you receive any of the following benefits when you make an appointment.What benefits do seniors get in UK? ›
- If you're over State Pension age. Pension Credit. If you're over State Pension age and on a low income you can apply for Pension Credit for help with your living costs. ...
- Support with travel costs. Older person's bus pass. ...
- Other help you can get. Get help with NHS prescriptions and health costs.
a free TV licence if you're aged 75 or over. help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, if you get a certain type of Pension Credit. help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. a discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you're moving house.Is 3000 a month a good pension? ›
If you have a low living cost and can supplement your income with a part-time job or a generous pension, then retiring on $3,000 a month is certainly possible. However, if you have a high living cost or rely solely on Social Security benefits, retiring on $3,000 a month may be more difficult.How much is a $30000 pension worth? ›
As an example, examine how much an earned pension income of $30,000 would add to a person's net worth. A defined benefit plan income of $30,000 annually is $2,500 per month, which is 25 times $100.How much does a $100 000 annuity pay per month? ›
How much does a $100,000 annuity pay per month? Our data revealed that a $100,000 annuity would pay between $448 and $1,524 monthly for life if you use a lifetime income rider. The payments are based on the age you buy the annuity contract and the time before taking the money.How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›
To acquire the full amount, you need to maximize your working life and begin collecting your check until age 70. Another way to maximize your check is by asking for a raise every two or three years. Moving companies throughout your career is another way to prove your worth, and generate more money.Do you lose Social Security benefits if you move to another country? ›
If you leave the U.S., we will stop your benefits the month after the sixth calendar month in a row that you are outside the country. You can make visits to the United States for specific periods of time, depending on how long you've been outside, to continue receiving your benefits.What is the Social Security 5 year rule? ›
You must have worked and paid Social Security taxes in five of the last 10 years. • If you also get a pension from a job where you didn't pay Social Security taxes (e.g., a civil service or teacher's pension), your Social Security benefit might be reduced.What is the lowest Social Security payment? ›
The Social Security special minimum benefit provides a primary insurance amount (PIA) to low-earning workers. The lowest minimum PIA in 2023, with at least 11 years of work, is $49.40 per month. The full minimum PIA, which requires at least 30 years of work, is $1,033.50 per month.Can I retire at 60 with $500 K? ›
The quick answer is “yes”! With some planning, you can retire at 60 with $500k. Remember, however, that your lifestyle will significantly affect how long your savings will last.Can I get Social Security if I never worked? ›
The only people who can legally collect benefits without paying into Social Security are family members of workers who have done so. Nonworking spouses, ex-spouses, offspring or parents may be eligible for spousal, survivor or children's benefits based on the qualifying worker's earnings record.
You earn Pension Credits based on the number of hours you work in Covered Employment each Plan Year. You earn one Pension Credit if you work at least 1,000 hours in a Plan Year.What is a pension pay credit? ›
Pension Credit is earned based on your Earnings Credit or your days of covered employment. Pension Credits are used in determining your eligibility for benefits as well as the amount of benefits payable under the Plan. There are four types of Pension Credits: Current Service Credit.What is the State Pension in Scotland? ›
The new State Pension will be £179.60* per week in tax year 2021/22. To claim any new State Pension you will need to have made National Insurance contributions (NICs) for at least 10 years.Can you bank transfer from USA to UK? ›
To transfer money from the US to the UK, you can use a bank or a money transfer company. It normally takes 2-4 working days for your money to arrive. Money transfer companies are normally a cheaper and more efficient option. Some money transfer companies also offer guidance on exchange rates and timing.Can I have a UK savings account if I live abroad? ›
Yes. But you'll need a UK bank or building society account (or an NS&I Investment Account) that can receive BACS transfers. The interest is paid without the deduction of tax. However, the interest is subject to UK Income Tax so if you're liable for UK Income Tax it will count towards your Personal Savings Allowance.Can a UK bank refuse to give you cash? ›
The bank can refuse to refund you if they find you acted fraudulently or were 'grossly negligent' - for example, if you shared your pin or password with someone else. If the bank won't refund your money, you'll only be able to get it back by taking the person who stole it to court.Do beneficiaries have to pay taxes on inheritance UK? ›
Funds from your estate are used to pay Inheritance Tax to HM Revenue and Customs ( HMRC ). This is done by the person dealing with the estate (called the 'executor', if there's a will). Your beneficiaries (the people who inherit your estate) do not normally pay tax on things they inherit.Is inheritance considered income UK? ›
No. Your inheritance is not classed as income and is not taxable. Any interest or dividends arising from your inheritance would be taxable and would need to be declared.How much savings can a pensioner have in the bank UK? ›
There isn't a savings limit for Pension Credit. However, if you have over £10,000 in savings, this will affect how much you receive.What is a decent pension UK? ›
What is a good pension amount? Some advisers recommend that you save up 10 times your average working-life salary by the time you retire. So if your average salary is £30,000 you should aim for a pension pot of around £300,000. Another top tip is that you should save 12.5 per cent of your monthly salary.
A good UK pension pot for a comfortable retirement starts from £19,000 per annum. However, a pension pot of £30,000 to £47,000 per annum is required if you want a more lavish retirement lifestyle.What is a good pension income UK? ›
In 2022 the minimum required to survive as a single pensioner jumped by 18% to £12,800 a year. Meanwhile, a retired couple now need a minimum of £19,900 a year – up £3,200, an even bigger rise of 19%, according to a study funded by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) at Loughborough University.What is a good monthly pension amount? ›
Average Monthly Retirement Income
According to data from the BLS, average incomes in 2021 after taxes were as follows for older households: 65-74 years: $59,872 per year or $4,989 per month. 75 and older: $43,217 per year or $3,601 per month.
UK average savings over age 50
By 50, the average savings (not the median average) is £198,390, with 60-year-olds saving approximately £270,100.
Assuming you qualify for the full State Pension of £9,627.80 2022/23 a year, the PLSA says you'll still need to build up a pension pot worth at least £590,000 to achieve a comfortable retirement1. This is if you want to turn your pension into an annuity, which pays you a guaranteed annual income for life in retirement.How much does the average 70 year old have in savings? ›
How much does the average 70-year-old have in savings? Just shy of $500,000, according to the Federal Reserve. The better question, however, may be whether that's enough for a 70-year-old to live on in retirement so that you can align your budget accordingly.What is a good retirement amount at 65? ›
Aim for $700K at a Minimum
Larry Hendrickson, founder and managing partner at G&H Financial Group, notes that the amount of retirement savings you should have if you retire at 65 will depend on your personal living costs.
Contact them by phone at 1-800-643-4442, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the mailing address below.What conditions automatically qualify you for PIP UK? ›
you're 16 or over. you have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability. you have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around. you expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started.How much money can a person on disability have in the bank? ›
Money In The Bank And SSDI
The SSDI program does not limit how much money you can have in the bank because there are no resource limits as you find with SSI.
Overall, the average amount earned under the New UPS Pension Plan is $2,500 for 25-at-57 and $3,000 for 30-and-out. However, his amount can vary depending on your state, country, or city.How much is UPS full time pension? ›
A 30-and-out pension for UPSers in the 22 states in the IBT-UPS Plan is $3,800/month. The maximum pension payable at any age is $4,300 after 35 years of service.Can I view my pensions? ›
To find out the value of your pensions, you need to contact your pension providers. If you're not sure who your pension providers are, then you can contact your former employers to find out, or use the government's Pension Tracing Service.