Entitlement to State Pension depends on your age and National Insurance contributions. The age where you are eligible for State Pension is rising, it is currently at age 66. You can check your state pension age here. You do not automatically get your State Pension, you have to claim it.
Basic State Pension is for people who reach state pension age before 6 April 2016.
New State Pension is for people who reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
If you have reached State Pension age, you might be entitled to Pension Credit which is extra money to help with your living costs if you are on a low income. You can receive Pension Credit as a top-up to your State Pension. You can receive Pension Credit even if you are still working. You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person (see below).
If you are a couple you must include your partner on your claim. To be eligible for Pension Credit, you and your partner need to have both reached State Pension age, or one of you needs to be getting Housing Benefit for people over State Pension age.
Pension Credit has two parts. Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. You might be able to get both depending on your circumstances. Guarantee Pension Credit tops up your weekly income if you have a low income to £177.10 if you’re single or £270.30 if you have a partner. Savings Pension Credit is an extra payment to some people who have savings or other income. Savings Pension Credit is only available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. You could get up to £13.97 extra per week if you’re single or £15.62 if you’re a couple.
Mixed age couples
Mixed age couples are where one person has reached State Pension age and one person has not. Under the old rules you could choose whether to claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit. Since 2019, if you are a couple making a new claim for Pension Credit you must have both reached State Pension age. If you were eligible under the pension age rules before 15 May 2019, you can continue to receive Pension Credit (and any other benefits, such as pension age Housing Benefit). If you are already claiming either Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit you can still make a new claim for Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. If you have a change of circumstances you might have to claim Universal Credit instead. If you are not sure what you should claim you can contact your local Citizens Advice or ring our helpline.
If you have reached State Pension age and you are on a low income, you can claim Housing Benefit to help with the costs of your rent. You can make a claim through your local council. You can find out more about Housing Benefit.
Council Tax Reduction
If you receive the guarantee part of Pension Credit you are entitled to a full reduction of you Council Tax. You can contact your local council to make a claim and you can ask for the claim to be backdated up to three months if you are eligible during this period.
If you are responsible for a child or young person who lives with you
You can get Child Benefit if you are responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16, or under 20 if they are in approved education or training. Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child. If the child lives with more than one parents or carer, you should decide who claims Child Benefit. If you cannot decide HMRC will make a decision using their decision making criteria. If you or your partner have an individual annual income of more than £50,000 you may have to pay some of your Child Benefit back in in tax. You can find out more about Child Benefit and how to claim here.
Child Tax Credit
You can only make a new claim for Child Tax Credit if you already have a Tax Credit claim. You cannot get help for childcare through Child Tax Credit, you can only get help for childcare through Working Tax Credit.
Most people cannot make a new claim for Tax Credit. If you or your partner are under state pension age you can apply for Universal Credit instead. You will receive extra money for each child you are responsible for. If you and your partner are over state pension age you might be entitled to Pension Credit. If you are eligible for Pension Credit you will receive extra money for each child you are responsible for.
Child element of Universal Credit
You can claim Universal Credit if you are under state pension age, or if your partner is. If you are claiming Universal Credit and responsible for a child or qualifying young person who normally lives with you, your Universal Credit will include a child element. You will get £282.50 per month if your first or only child was born before 6 April 2017. If your first or only child was born on or after 6 April 2017, or if you have a second child you will get £237.08 per month. You will not be paid the child element for a third or subsequent children born after 6 April 2017, unless an you qualify for an exception to the two-child limit. You might be able to claim up to 85% of your childcare costs if you are eligible.
Child element of Pension Credit
If you get Pension Credit you can get extra money for each child or qualifying young person who you are responsible for and normally lives with you. You could get £65.10 per week for the first child if they were born before 6 April 2017 or £54.60 if they were born after. You can also get an extra £54.60 per week for each child you’re responsible for.
If you have a disability or health condition
If you are over 65 and need care or supervision because of an illness or disability for 6 months or more, you might be entitled to Attendance Allowance. It is based on the care you need, not the care you receive so you can apply for this even if no one helps you. The amount of Attendance Allowance you get depends on your care needs and is either the lower rate which is £60.00 per week or the higher rate which is £89.60 per week. Attendance Allowance is not means-tested so it doesn’t matter what other income or savings you have and it does not affect your other benefits, in fact you might be entitled to more money.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
You cannot claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) once you reach State Pension age. If you are already getting PIP you can continue to get PIP after you have reached State Pension age.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
DLA is being replaced by PIP for most adults. If you are currently getting DLA you might be asked to move to PIP instead. If you were born before 8 April 1948 you will continue getting DLA and will not be asked to move to PIP.
If you are a carer
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who care for a disabled adult or child. You cannot receive Carer’s Allowance and a State Pension at the same time, but it may still be worth claiming Carer’s Allowance because if you have an ‘underlying entitlement’ a Carer’s Addition will be included when working out your entitlement to income-based benefits like Pension Credit.
You can get Carer’s Allowance if you:
- Are 16 or over.
- Provide 35 hours a week of care to someone receiving the higher or middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, the daily living component of the Personal Independence Payment or either rate of Attendance Allowance.
- Are not working, or you are working but you earn no more than the earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance.
- Are not in full-time education (this means 21 hours a week or more).
Carer’s Allowance does not depend on household income so it doesn’t matter how much anyone else in your house earns. If you receive Universal Credit or Pension Credit you will receive an extra payment if you are a carer.
You will find more information about Carer’s Allowance and how to claim it here. Carer’s UK also has lots of information about Carer’s Allowance and other financial help for carers. Claiming Carer’s Allowance can affect the benefits of the person you care for, if they are on income-based benefits, so it is particularly important to get advice about this before claiming.
If you work and you need to reduce your working hours because of your caring responsibilities, you can see our pages on requesting flexible working.
Help with heath costs
If you are over 60 you can get free prescriptions and NHS sight tests. If you are over 60 and receive certain benefits you can get free NHS dental treatment. You can check what you are entitled to here.
If you have reached pension age in England, or if you are over 60 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you are entitled to a free bus pass. If you live in London you can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport. You can see if you are eligible for free travel and apply here.
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 5 October 1954 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. You can see if you are eligible here.
Cold Weather Payment
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. You can check eligibility here.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you get certain benefits or if you have a low income. You can find out if you are eligible and how to apply here.
Free TV license
You can apply for a free TV licence if you, or someone else in your household, is over 75 and claiming pension guarantee credits. You can find apply here.
Benefit calculators and further advice
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.