Pension credit is changing as of May 15th 2019

Are you living with a partner? Is one of you aged over 65 and the other under 65? If so, then there could be some big changes happening with any new pension credit claims you make. Currently you can make a claim for pension credit if you are over the current pension credit age (65) and are living with a partner. However, in just a few days you will only be able to make a claim if both partners are over the current pension credit age (65). Mixed age couples will have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Will I be affected by the Pension Credit changes?

If you already claim pension credit or pension-age housing benefit then your claim will continue and these changes won’t affect you while you remain entitled to these benefits. If you have a change in circumstances then this could affect your benefits.

You may be affected if you meet the criteria below:

  • If you are 65 or over
  • If you live with a partner under 65
  • If your joint weekly income is less than £255.25
  • If you aren’t currently claiming pension credit

If you meet the above criteria make sure you check what you are entitled to and make a pension credit claim before May 15th 2019. If you’ve had a change in circumstances or if you aren’t sure you what you’re entitled to, use a benefit calculator.

How do I make a claim for Pension Credit?

Those who are eligible for pension credit are provided with a guaranteed minimum income made up of guarantee credit and savings credit. If you aren’t sure it’s definitely worth-while checking!

To make a claim, call the Pension Service on 0800991234. Entitled to estimates that 50,000 low income couples could qualify but haven’t made a claim. That could include you! Make sure you check what you are entitled to before May 15th 2019. You can claim at any point after you reach pension credit age (65 currently), but your claim can only be backdated by three months.

What happens if I miss the deadline to apply?

If you are a mixed age couple: If you don’t make a claim for pension credit or are not eligible until after the deadline of May 15th 2019, then you may be able to claim Universal Credit instead. You could also be affected by other working age benefit rules. This could include changes to help with council tax and bedroom tax. If you don’t make the claim you could be worse off by up to £7,280* per year.

For other claimants:These changes won’t apply to you unless you have a change of circumstance.

How do I claim for Universal Credit?

If you wish to speak to somebody about applying for Universal Credit, you can call the helpline using the following numbers:

Universal Credit contact number: 0800 328 5644
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Opening hours:Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges here.

If you would like more information on Universal Credit take a look at our Universal Credit advice page. Want to know what others think about Universal Credit? You can read about first-hand experiences from PayPlan clients who are either eligible or claiming UC.

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*This figure is based on the maximum entitlement for a couple making a new claim on pension credit as of April 2019 (£255.25 per week), in comparison with the maximum entitlement for a couple making a new claim on universal credit (£114.85 per week). Calculations from Entitled to.