If you are over 60 or have a partner over 60, you may be able to claim Retirement Pension (based on your national insurance contributions), and or Pension Credit (an income-based benefit which looks at any other income you have). However, you may have to wait until you are older, or your partner is older, to claim these benefits. Retirement pension and Pension Credit depend on your state pension age, which is rising. For Pension Credit, both you and your partner usually need to have reached state pension age, unless you are already claiming Pension Credit.
You can check your state pension age on the GOV.UK website using the State Pension age calculator.
There are also other benefits which may apply depending on your circumstances, for example Housing Benefit if you pay rent, council tax reduction if you pay council tax, and Attendance Allowance if you have care needs, and you are claiming when you are over state pension age (if you claimed when you were below this age and get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can continue to get DLA/PIP).
If you are responsible for children who live with you, you can claim benefits for those children, for example, Child Benefit and a child element as part of either Pension Credit or Universal Credit. You can only get Child Tax Credit if you are already on tax credits, or if you or your partner are below state pension age and you are entitled to a severe disability premium in one of the older benefits.
If you are below Pension Credit age and you need help with your rent, the costs of bringing up children or you and any partner’s own every day costs, you will usually have to claim Universal Credit unless you are already claiming an older benefit (for example, housing benefit or tax credits). If you do have to claim UC, any benefits it replaces will usually stop. For any new applications as a couple for Pension Credit on or after 15th May 2019, you may also have to claim Universal Credit if only one of you is above the Pension Credit qualifying age – see GOV.UK guidance for more information. There are some exceptions for people entitled to a severe disability premium in the older benefits. If you already claim any of the benefits UC replaces, it’s important to get advice before claiming UC as you can end up worse off.
If you help care for a child, but you don’t claim benefits for them, you may still be able to get help with national insurance credits, if you need them (this won’t apply if you are already at the age you can claim retirement pension). Have a look at National insurance for parents and carers for more information about this. If you care for someone (a child or adult) who gets a disability benefit, you may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance, but you can’t get this paid in full at the same time as retirement pension. It may still be worth claiming because it can mean you get more help in income-based benefits like Pension Credit.
To find out more about all these benefits and to check what other benefits you may be able to claim, you could use a tool such as the benefits checker on the websites Entitledto or Turn2us. You can also get advice from, for example, a Citizens Advice or from Age UK.
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.