Pension Credit toolkit

Use this collection of materials if you provide support to older people to help them understand how they could get Pension Credit.

Toolkit

This toolkit is for anyone who works with pensioners. Use it to help older people understand how they may get extra money every week by:

  • increasing understanding in your organisation
  • helping your customers find out if they could get Pension Credit

The toolkit contains:

  • guidance to help you understand Pension Credit
  • information to help you support someone applying for Pension Credit
  • common reasons why pensioners don’t claim
  • useful contacts

We will continue to expand and improve the information on these pages.

Advice and guidance for stakeholders

We know that some people may not be getting Pension Credit when they might be eligible for it. We’re trying to change that.

On 29 September 2020 the Department for Communities launched a media campaign targeted at people over State Pension age. We also want to reach out to those who support them.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of Pension Credit and focuses on dispelling some misconceptions by highlighting that:

  • people of State Pension age may be entitled to Pension Credit even though they may have savings or a pension or own their own home,
  • an award of Pension Credit, even a small award, can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with housing costs, dental and optical treatment or heating bills.

We are encouraging people to ring the Pension Centre or to go online and use the Pension Credit Calculator to see if they could be eligible.

Reaching people who think they are not eligible is not always easy but they may be more open to people they trust like community workers or friends and family.

If you work with people over State Pension age, or with those supporting them, or know anyone who might be eligible, then please encourage them to find out more.

A video you can use to promote Pension Credit

Who you can talk to

We’d like you to talk to people who:

  • are of State Pension age
  • are not currently getting benefit
  • may have savings

Barriers to claiming Pension Credit

There are a number of barriers that stop pensioners claiming Pension Credit. They may wrongly think they are not eligible because they:

  • have savings
  • own their own home
  • may be working
  • may be getting a small occupational pension
  • may have been turned down in the past

Other factors may be that they:

  • do not want to be seen as needing to claim
  • feel that they are able to manage
  • do not think it’s worth applying for (as the amount they get will be very small)
  • do not recognise themselves as a Pension Credit claimant
  • have not got around to it
  • think it is a complex and confusing subject
  • already get other help and do not want to mess up the benefits they are getting

We also know many pensioners are worried about how much information they need to give us and how complicated the application process is. So although we have introduced an online application form, it’s worth reassuring them that their claim can also be done in one phone call with the Pension Service with no forms to fill out. They need to have

  • their National Insurance Number
  • their bank and savings details
  • information about any other pensions they are getting
  • their partner’s details (if they have a partner)
  • information about housing costs (if any, such as mortgage interest payments)

The Pension Service will also help them to claim other benefits if they are entitled to those as well.

For vulnerable people, the Department’s Make the Call Wraparound Service can provide home visits and will calculate the types of benefits they are entitled to making it easier for them to understand which benefits they can claim.

Quick guide to entitlement

There are 4 main questions when considering whether a pensioner may get Pension Credit:

  1. How old are they?
  2. If they have a partner, how old is their partner?
  3. What is their weekly income? Is it less that £173.75 if they are single or £265.20 if they are a couple?
  4. Do they have any savings? Have they got less than £10,000?

People who have more income or savings than this may still qualify for Pension Credit. But these questions are a good basic indication of who is likely to qualify.

If they are over 65 and reached their State Pension age before 6 April 2016, they could still qualify for Pension Credit if their weekly income is less than:

  • £208.68 if they are single
  • £304.25 if they are a couple

Use the Pension Credit calculator to find out how much Pension Credit someone could get – without giving any personal details.

Quick guide to Pension Credit facts

The average weekly amount of Pension Credit is over £58.

A change in circumstances can make someone newly eligible for Pension Credit (for example, bereavement, a change in health or disability). So even if they’ve applied before and did not get it, it may be worth another look.

Many people mistakenly believe they cannot get Pension Credit just because they do not know the real facts.

Qualifying for Pension Credit can mean help with other things like help with housing costs

If people have reached the Pension Credit qualifying age, it means they’ll get topped up to a minimum income of:

  • £173.75 a week if they are single
  • £265.20 a week if they are a couple

If they are over 65 and reached their State Pension Age before 6 April 2016, they could still qualify for Pension Credit if their weekly income is below:

  • £208.68 if they are single
  • £304.25 if they are a couple

People do not have to pay tax on any Pension Credit payments they may get.

Pension Credit can be backdated for a maximum period of 3 months.

Pensioners can get Pension Credit even if they have savings. The first £10,000 of savings is ignored – so if someone has been previously turned down because of the amount of their savings, it’s worth another check.

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