Pension Credit is a means-tested, tax-free benefit aimed at retirees on low incomes. It’s estimated that around 3 million UK households are eligible for Pension Credit; however, as many as one in three households don’t claim the credit because they don’t realise they’re entitled to a Pension credit, among other government energy grants.
As of January 5, 2021, according to the UK government’s website, the UK will enter another period of lockdown. We at Switch Plan want to let you know that although our business goes unaffected, we understand that the lives of all have been affected by these trying times. Our team of experts are working hard to ensure that you make savings on your energy bill by switching suppliers. Read more about your energy supply during COVID-19 in our article.
What are the criteria for pension credit?
If you’ve recently hit state pension age and are looking to get your finances in order, finding out if you’re eligible for Pension Credit is essential. In some cases, the credit can be worth thousands of pounds a year, something that could make a big difference to your finances.
If you are eligible for Pension Credit, you should also be able to access a range of other benefits including Cold Weather Payments and the Warm Home Discount.
As Pension Credit is means tested, the main criteria you’ll be assessed on is your income. The government will also look at your family circumstances and your savings when deciding if you’re entitled to the benefit.
The criteria you’ll be assessed on include:
- Your income
- Your savings and investments
- If you’re in a couple (defined as having a partner who you live with) and the value of your combined income and savings
Pension Credit comes in two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, so you’ll be assessed on both your weekly earnings and your savings.
Guarantee credit is designed to top up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. It’s aimed at households on low incomes and can be claimed by both couples and people living alone. You’re eligible for Guarantee Credit if:
- You’re single and have a weekly income below £173.75
- You’re a couple and have a weekly income below £265.20
The government will look at all of your income when assessing your eligibility. This includes:
- Your basic pension
- Any additional state pension
- Any income from other pensions
- Income from any jobs or social security benefits
- Any savings or investments above £10,000
Savings Credit, the second part of the Pension Credit benefit, is designed to reward those who have saved for retirement. If you’re single, Savings Credit could give you up to £13.97 a week. If you’re in a couple, you could get up to £15.62 a week. In order to qualify for Savings Credit you need:
- A minimum income of £150.47 a week as a single person
- A minimum income of £239.17 a week as a couple
The easiest way to find out if you’re eligible for Pension Credit is to use the Pension Credit Calculator on the Government Website. Simply put in your details and the calculator will tell you if you qualify.
How much is pension credit?
The amount of Pension Credit you’ll receive will depend on your income and the amount you have in savings. Guarantee Credit effectively tops up your income to a minimum level. So if you’re a single person who earns less than £173.75 per week, Pension Credit will top your income up to that figure. If you’re in a couple, your income will be topped up to £265.20 a week.
Savings Credit works slightly differently. If you meet the minimum income requirements, you’ll get 60p of Savings Credit for every £1 of income that exceeds the qualifying threshold (£150.47/wk or £239.17/wk). That’s up to a maximum of £13.97or £15.62 a week.
Can Pension Credit be used on energy?
If you qualify for Pension Credit, this can help you with your energy payments in a number of ways. For a start, you can use the money you get from the scheme to pay your fuel bills. Having a little extra weekly income can make a big difference when it comes to managing your household finances.
Secondly, if you qualify for the Guarantee Credit element of the scheme, you should also be eligible for the Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payments.
The Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount gives qualifying households £140 off of their winter fuel bill. If you’re eligible for the payment, and are signed up to an energy company that’s part of the scheme, you’ll need to write to the government to claim your discount. The money will then be given to your energy supplier who will take it off one of your winter fuel bills.
Energy suppliers that are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme include:
- Affect Energy
- Angelic Energy
- Avro Energy
- Beam Energy
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- British Gas Evolve
- Bulb Energy
- Citizen Energy
- Co-op Energy – see Octopus Energy
- EDF Energy
- Fosse Energy
- Great North Energy
- Green Energy
- Green Network Energy
- Green Star Energy
- iSupply Energy
- London Power – see Octopus Energy
- M&S Energy – see Octopus Energy
- nPower Select
- Octopus Energy
- Pure Planet
- Qwest Energy – see Octopus Energy
- Ram Energy
- Roar Power – see Octopus Energy
- Robin Hood Energy
- Sainsbury’s Energy
- Scottish Hydro – see SSE
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Southend Energy
- Southern Electric – see SSE
- Swalec – see SSE
- Symbio Energy
- The LECCY
- Tonik Energy
- Utility Point
- Utility Warehouse
- White Rose Energy
- Your Energy Sussex
Cold Weather Payments
The Cold Weather Payments scheme gives eligible households £25 when the temperature falls to 0˚C or below for 7 days in a row. This can make it a lot easier to manage your energy payments in the middle of winter. Again, if you qualify for the Guarantee Credit element of the Pension Credit scheme, you should be eligible for these payments.
How to claim Pension Credit?
If you think you’re eligible for Pension Credit, the first thing you should do is use the Government’s Pension Credit Calculator to check you qualify. You’ll then need to call the Pension Credit Claim Line on 0800 99 1234 or visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim to make your claim. Applying for the credit is easy and 9 out of 10 applications are successful.
When you call the claim line or visit the website, you’ll need the following details to hand:
- National Insurance number
- Bank account details
- Information about your income, savings and investments
- Information about your pension (if you have one)
- Details of any housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
- Partner’s details (if you have a partner)
Would you like to know more information related to pension credits and government energy grants? Great! Read more of our related articles here:
- What is the Priority Services Register
- fuel poverty
- Warm Home Discount
- Cold Weather Payment
- Winter Fuel Payment
Updated on 24 Feb, 2021