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Check if you can get Pension Credit

This advice applies to Scotland

Pension Credit is a weekly benefit to boost your income. It’s based on how much money you have coming in.

There are two parts to Pension Credit, called Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You might get one or both parts.

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a minimum amount.

Savings Credit is a small top-up for people who have a modest amount of income or savings. It’s only available if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

Working out if you're eligible for Guarantee Credit

To claim Pension Credit you must:

You can still be working, as long as your income isn't too high. 

Unlike the State Pension, you don’t need a national insurance record.

If you’re from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein

You can apply for Pension Credit if you have ‘settled status’. You'll usually get settled status if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more. To get settled status you need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Check how to apply for settled status.

If you don’t have settled status you’ll need evidence to show:

  • you have a right to claim benefits in the UK - this is called a ‘right to reside’ and depends on things like your work, family and personal situation
  • the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay - this is known as being ‘habitually resident’

If you have a right to reside, you might not need to show you’re habitually resident. Check if you have a right to reside.

Your Pension Credit might stop if you don't have settled status by 31 December 2020.

If you're a returning UK resident

You’ll need to give evidence to show the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay. This is known as being ‘habitually resident’.

Check how to prove you’re habitually resident.

If you're over State Pension age but your partner isn't

If you’re already getting Pension Credit, you’ll keep getting it unless your circumstances change.

You can’t usually make a new claim for Pension Credit.

You can still make a new claim for Pension Credit if both of the following apply:

  • you reached State Pension age before 15 May 2019
  • you’ve been claiming Housing Benefit since before 15 May 2019

Otherwise you’ll usually need to claim Universal Credit instead - check if you're eligible for Universal Credit.

Working out your income and savings

It’s a good idea to gather everything you can about your weekly income before applying.

Common forms of income are:

  • money from a private pension

  • money you get from the State Pension

  • most earnings from an employer or from being self-employed - your earnings will be worked out as an average if they go up and down over the year

  • benefits such as JSA or ESA  

You’ll also need to consider what savings and investments you have. This could include:

  • property you own except the home you live in

  • shares and other investments

  • money held in bank or savings accounts

Any savings or investments over £10,000 will affect the amount of Pension Credit you get. You’ll be treated as having £1 per week of income for every £500 above £10,000.

If your weekly income is below £167.25 then Guarantee Credit will top you up to that amount.

If you’re claiming as a couple and your income is below £255.25 it will be topped up to that amount.

If you’re claiming as a couple you’ll need the same information about your partner’s income.

Your income can be higher than £167.25 or £255.25 if you qualify for extra amounts such as the severe disability or carer’s addition. Your income can also be higher if you’re paying a mortgage.

Check if you can get additional amounts

You might be able to get extra money if you get other benefits or you’re responsible for a child.

If you get other benefits, such as Carer's Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance, your weekly Guarantee Credit amount can go over the minimum income threshold of £167.25.

If you’re eligible you can receive an extra amount for severe disability of £65.85 a week. Check if you’re eligible for the severe disability addition on GOV.UK.

The extra amount if you’re a carer is £36.85. You’ll get this if you or your partner receive Carer’s Allowance or have claimed for it and meet its conditions. Check if you’re eligible for the carer’s addition on GOV.UK.  

You’ll need to have details of any benefits you receive if you use the Pension Credit calculator on GOV.UK.

If you’re responsible for a child you can get an extra amount for them, as long as you’re not already getting child tax credits. You might also be able to claim child benefit.

Check if you can get Savings Credit

Savings Credit is the second part of Pension Credit. It’s only available if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

The amount you can get depends on whether you meet the ‘savings credit threshold.’ You must have a weekly income of at least £144.38 a week if you’re single or £229.67 a week if you’re claiming as a couple.

The income rules are different to Guarantee Credit.

Don’t count any income you get from:

  • working tax credits

  • incapacity benefit

  • contributory ESA

  • contributory JSA

  • severe disablement allowance

  • maternity allowance

  • maintenance payments 

The most you can get from Savings Credit is £13.73 a week if you’re single or £15.35 if you’re claiming as a couple.

Next steps

It’s a good idea to use the Pension Credit calculator on GOV.UK before applying. You’ll be told whether or not you’re eligible and how to apply.

How to claim Pension Credit

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