Money Wellness
Image of two pensioners checking the government website
category iconcost of living
calendar icon09 May 2023

Ten-day countdown to check if you can get £100s to help with cost of living

If you’re a pensioner on a low income, you’re being urged to check if you’re eligible for pension credit before 19 May. Doing it before this date means those who qualify won’t miss out on the latest £301 cost-of-living payment from the government.

What is pension credit?

Pension credit is one of the most underclaimed and misunderstood benefits in Britain. Separate from the state pension, it’s currently given to around 1.4 million people, but many more are missing out.

If you’re over state pension age and on a low income, you may be eligible for about £3,500 a year. Even if you have savings or your own home, you may still qualify.

Pension credit tops up a single person’s income to at least £201.05 a week and that figure increases to 3306.85 for couples. If you have a disability or caring responsibilities, you may get more. And even a small pension credit award can make a big difference to your finances, as it provides access to a wide range of other benefits, such as help with housing costs, council tax and heating bills.  

Why do I have to claim before 19 May?

Although you can make a claim for pension credit at any time, doing it before the 19 May will mean if you qualify you should also receive a £301 cost-of-living payment. This will be paid directly into your bank account.

Who qualifies for pension credit?

To qualify for pension credit, you must live in England, Scotland or Wales and be over state pension age - currently 66 for both men and women.

If you have a partner, you’ll need to include them on your application. You’ll be eligible to apply if either:

·        you’re both over state pension age

·       one of you is getting housing benefit for people over state pension age

When you apply, your income will be worked out. If you have a partner, your income will be lumped together.

Your income includes state pension, any other pension, earnings from work and most social security benefits e.g. carer’s allowance. But not all benefits are counted as income. Attendance allowance, child benefit, disability living allowance, personal independence payment, winter fuel allowance, housing benefit, council tax reduction and Christmas bonus won’t be taken into account.

Providing you have no more than £10,000 in savings and investments, this won’t count as income. If you have more than £10,000, every £500 over will count as a £1 income a week. For example, if you have £11,000 in savings, this will be counted as £2 income a week.

If you’re entitled to a personal or workplace pension and haven’t claimed it yet, the amount you could be getting still counts as income. Equally, if you’ve deferred your state pension, that amount will also be counted as income. You can’t build up extra amounts for deferring your state pension, if you or your partner are claiming pension credit.


How do I make a claim?

Find out if you qualify for pension credit and any other benefits using our free online calculator. You can then make a claim by phone or online. Get all the details on the government website.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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