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Pension credit is available to those who reached pension age before 6 April 2016.
For later claims it is replaced by the less generous universal credit. Pension Credit guarantees all those receiving the state pension an income of at least:
- £173.75 a week for a single person
- £265.20 a week for those with partners.
And there is additional money available for those aged 65 or over with modest savings - up to:
- £150.47 is the single person's threshold
- £13.97 a week maximum for a single person
- £239.17 is the couple's threshold
- £15.62 a week maximum for those with partners.
The person who applies for pension credit must be at least the state pension age, it does not matter if the partner is younger. But this changed in May 2019 when the credit will only be available when the younger partner reaches state pension age.
From 15 May 2019, where a current claimant has a partner aged below the state pension age, they will cease to receive pension credit and be moved to universal credit.
Estimates suggest that this could cost affected couples up to £7,000 a year.
Any couple who were in receipt of pension credit before this date should be able to keep their entitlement in most cases.
Income and savings
Income is assessed jointly for couples.
Not all types of income are included. The main components are:
- Certain benefits
- Earnings from a job.
Savings and investments are converted to income by using £1 per week for every £500 or part of £500 over £10,000 relating to:
- Money in a bank, building society or post office account or at home
- National savings certificates and premium bonds
- Income bonds, capital bonds or pensioner bonds
- Shares or unit trusts
- Property and land (excluding the normal residence).
The earnings limits may be relaxed if the individual, or partner:
- Is severely disabled
- Looks after a person who is severely disabled
- Has certain housing costs, e.g. mortgage interest.
Method of payment
The money is paid weekly into a bank, building society or Post Office account.
A pension credit of less than £1 a week will probably be paid quarterly.
If it is less than 10p a week it will probably be paid only if it can be combined with another benefit.