Who can claim Pension Credit?
At the moment you can claim Pension Credit as soon as you reach the pension age for a woman. These dates are available from the Age UK website
If you are in a couple you can claim Pension Credit as soon as the oldest member of the couple reaches this age. If you are eligible for Pension Credit it is important to claim this even if it is only a small amount each week. If you get Pension Credit you will also be entitled to other help as well:
- you don’t usually have to pay Council Tax,
- you get maximum Housing Benefit,
- you get free NHS dental treatment and help with the costs of glasses and fares to hospital
- You get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 when the temperature is at 0°C or below for 7 days
- You may get help with mortgage payments and ground rent if you own your own home
- If you are a carer or if you live alone and get Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment daily living component or middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance you may be eligible for additional amounts of Pension Credit.
Changes to the age at which you can claim Pension Credit
The current rules are due to change with effect from 15th May 2019. From this date both members of the couple will need to be over pension age in order to qualify for Pension Credit. This means that couples where one member was born on or before the 5th February 1954 can gain protection from these new rules by claiming Pension Credit before this date. People who are eligible to clam Pension Credit before 15th May will be able to do a late claim for Pension Credit for up to 3 months after this date to avoid the need to claim Universal Credit. You will also be able to do late claims for Housing Benefit if you are on Pension Credit before 15.5.2019 and vice versa.
If you fail to claim in time you will be prevented from claiming Pension Credit until both members of the couple are over Pension Credit age.
This will mean that some couples have to wait many more years before they can claim Pension Credit and so will lose large sums of money as a result. These sums will be around £7,000 per year that they are prevented form moving on to Pension Credit. If you claim Pension Credit before the change to the age rules, you will remain on Pension Credit and will not need to claim Universal Credit. It is important that all couples with one person over Pension Credit age checks whether they have an entitlement to Pension Credit.
Other changes to Pension Credit
There will be other future changes to Pension Credit as a result of the introduction of Universal Credit as other benefits such as Tax Credits and Housing Benefit are phased out. These benefits will all eventually become part of Universal Credit and when this happens it will mean that pensioners who currently get Housing Benefit will instead have this replaced by a new housing credit which will be paid as part of Pension Credit although it should be possible to get the housing credit without also getting Pension Credit.
If pensioners are claiming for children they will also no longer be eligible for Child Tax Credit and instead additions for children will be payable as part of their Pension Credit. Older people who are working will also transfer from Working Tax Credit to additions paid on Pension Credit.
The full details of these changes are not known as yet. We will give more information about this here when this is available.