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How to claim Pension Credit

This advice applies to England

Pension Credit is a weekly benefit to boost your income. You can apply online, by phone or by completing a form.

Check what information you'll need before you claim

Before applying you'll need to gather the personal information the Pension Service need.

When you call them you’ll need to answer questions about your income and savings. Make sure you have:

  • your National Insurance number - you can find your National Insurance number or apply for one on GOV.UK

  • your bank, building society or Post Office card account details

  • details of how much money you have coming in each week, such as from a pension

  • details of any savings and investments you have

  • your housing costs, such as rent or mortgage repayments

  • information about any benefit payments you receive

If you live with a partner you’ll need to give the Pension Service the same information about them.

You’ll also need to provide information of anyone else living with you such as details about any benefits they’re receiving. You won’t need to give detail about their income.

Claiming your Pension Credit

You can apply for Pension Credit online on GOV.UK. 

You can only apply online if:

  • you’ve already claimed your State Pension

  • you're not living with someone under 16 or between 16 and 19 in full-time education

Make sure you have the information you need before starting your online application. You’ll have to complete your application in one sitting - you won’t be able to save and come back to it later.

If you can’t apply online, you can claim by calling the Pension Service and telling them you want to claim Pension Credit.

Pension Credit claim line

Telephone: 0800 99 1234
Textphone: 0800 169 0133

Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 99 1234

You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.

Video relay - if you use British Sign Language (BSL).

You can find out how to use video relay on YouTube.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Ask for your Pension Credit to be backdated when you apply.

Pension Credit can be backdated for up to 3 months before you apply if you were eligible during that time. This means you'll get up to 3 months of Pension Credit included in your first payment.

If the Pension Service have all the information they need they can sometimes make a decision on your claim and put payments in place straight away. If they need more information they’ll send you a form to fill in.

If you need to give the Pension Service more information

Sometimes the Pension Service will need more information to make a decision about your claim. For example, they might ask for proof of identity or for more details about your income.

You’ll need to send what they’ve asked for within a month of being asked for it. If you need more time, you’ll need to contact the Pension Service and explain why.

It can sometimes be difficult to gather the extra information - contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help.

If you find it difficult to call

A friend or relative can call for you. They can go through your application on the phone or ask the Pension Service to arrange a home visit if you need it.

If they’re going through your application on the phone you must be with them when they call to make sure they answer things correctly.

You can also claim by completing a form. A friend or relative should call the Pension Credit claim line and ask them to send you the form.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help applying.

Being paid your Pension Credit

If you’re eligible for Pension Credit you’ll get a letter after you apply saying how much you’ll get and when you’ll be paid.

Pension Credit is paid every four weeks into your bank, building society or Post Office card account.  

If you don't have a bank account

You can be paid using the Payment Exception Service if you have difficulty opening or managing a suitable account. 

Extra help while you're getting Pension Credit

You might be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction if you get Pension Credit. You’ll also be able to get help with the cost of court fees and, if your partner is under 60 and you’re receiving Guarantee Credit, they’ll get free prescriptions.

Anyone on Pension Credit can apply for a Budgeting Loan which can help with things like travel costs or funeral payments. Find out more about Budgeting Loans on GOV.UK.

Ask the Pension Service to explain the extra benefits to you when you apply.

You might also be able to get help paying for your daily essentials - for example to help pay for food or household items.

Check when you’ll get Cost of Living Payments

If you’re eligible, the government will send you a payment of £300 in autumn 2023 - you'll get this by 19 November.

To get the £300 payment you must have either:

  • been entitled to a Pension Credit payment on any day from 18 August to 17 September 2023

  • started a successful Pension Credit claim by 17 September 2023

The government will send you another payment of £299 during spring 2024 if you’re still eligible.

The government have already given 3 Cost of Living Payments to people who get Pension Credit. The government sent the last payment between 25 April and 17 May 2023 - this was a payment of £301.

To get this payment, you must have been entitled to a Pension Credit payment on any day between 26 January and 25 February 2023.

If you think you should have received a Cost of Living Payment, you can report a missing payment on GOV.UK.

Check if you can get a free TV licence

You might be able to get a free TV licence if someone in your household gets Pension Credit.

To get the discount, both of the following must apply to the licence holder:

  • they’re 75 years or older
  • they get Pension Credit or have a partner living at the same address who does

Apply for a TV licence at TV Licensing.

If you want to challenge a Pension Credit decision 

You can challenge the decision on your claim if:

  • you’re told you can’t get Pension Credit

  • you don’t think you’ve received enough Pension Credit

Find out how you can challenge a decision

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