Pension credit is a benefit aimed at retired people on low incomes and can be worth £1,000s a year. Plus, if you claim it you can access a whole raft of other benefits including council tax discounts and free TV licences for over-75s. However, about 800,000 eligible households don’t claim – often because they don’t know they can or that they need to.

What is a Pension Credit?

Pension credit is a benefit aimed at people over state pension age offering a top-up to their income. It’s made up of two parts, and while some people get both, many can qualify for just one of the two:

Guarantee credit – this is the main part of pension credit, giving you a top-up of your weekly income to a minimum guaranteed level. For 2022/23, this is £182.60 a week if you’re single, and £278.70 a week if you’re in a couple. 

Savings credit – for those who reached state pension age before April 2016, there’s an extra boost available if you’ve made provision for your retirement via savings, work or a private pension. This gives you up to £14.48 a week if you’re single, and £16.20 if you’re in a couple. To qualify, you’ve got to earn above a threshold amount of £158.47 if you’re single and £251.70 if you’re in a couple. 

To qualify for pension credit you must:

  • Live in the UK – England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Have reached state pension age
  • Have a weekly income below £182.60 if you’re single, or £278.70 if you’re in a couple
  • If you’re in a couple, you’ll BOTH need to have reached state pension age. You don’t have to be married or in a civil partnership, you’re considered a couple if you live together. For couples, one partner applies and then provides income and savings details for both partners.

Extra criteria for savings credit: 

  • To qualify for the savings element as well (if you’re making a new claim) you also need to have reached 65 if you’re a man, and 63 if you’re a woman, before 6 April 2016 – the state pension ages back then
  • You need to earn above the threshold amount of £158.47 if you’re single, or £251.70 if you’re in a couple
  • However, if you’re part of a couple and just one of you satisfies ALL of these conditions, you could still qualify for savings credit as a couple. You or your partner must:
    –  Have been awarded savings credit before 6 April 2016.
    –  Have remained entitled to savings credit at all times since 6 April 2016.

Check Entitlement and Claim
Pension credit is complex, so rather than trying to work out if you can get it, just get in touch online or by phone to see if you’re eligible. It only takes a few minutes and can be worth thousands.

If you’re comfortable using a computer, the quickest way to find out if you qualify for pension credit is by using the Government’s free pension credit calculator at this link:

To do this, it’s easiest if you have details of your current earnings, benefits and pensions to hand (for you and your partner if you live with them). It’ll then give an instant estimate of how much you’re due. 

There are free Government helplines you can call up to talk it through. Again, it’s best with details to hand, but if you’ve not got them or need help with that… don’t stall, just call.

  • • England, Wales or Scotland. Pension Service helpline: 0800 99 1234 (8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • • Northern Ireland. Pension Centre: 0808 100 6165 (9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)

This article is abstracted from an original article by Rosie Hamilton published 28/11/22 on