At the moment, someone over 65 living in a couple (married or unmarried) can claim Pension Credit regardless of their partners age. However, from 15 May 2019, they will only be able to claim Pension Credit if BOTH partners are over state pension age.
It is estimated that this change could mean people losing out by as much as £7000 a year if they don’t claim before the changes come into effect.
If you are living in a couple, where one of you is at least 65 and the other is under state pension age, then you should make a claim for Pension Credit as soon as possible if you are eligible to do so.
If you already claim Pension Credit you won’t be affected by the change and will continue to get Pension Credit as normal.
Pension Credit is intended to give a minimum level of income to older people. It ‘tops up’ your income to a guaranteed minimum level which is currently:
- £163 for a single person over pension age, or
- £248.80 for a couple.
- You may get an additional amount on top of this if you have modest savings.
Even if you are only entitled to a small amount of Pension Credit, you should still claim. As well as the cash, an award of Pension Credit can also entitle you to a full rebate of your Council tax bill, help with some NHS costs and help with your rent or mortgage.
You have nothing to lose by applying, but potentially a lot to gain.
If you miss the deadline to apply for pension credit under the current rules, or you become eligible for pension credit on or after 15 May but your partner won’t have reached the qualifying age, then you will need to apply for Universal Credit.