Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2019

State pension credit changes take place next week – act now or you may miss out on £35,000

The state pension is something which many people rely on during their later years. There are two types of state pension, the basic and new, and the one you qualify for depends on your date of birth. The amount you get depends on a number of factors, such as your national insurance contributions, and of course the type of state pension you are eligible for. Some people may also get pension credit – which is an income-related benefit made up of two parts: Guarantee credit and savings credit.

Guarantee credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £167.25 for a single person.

For a couple, this rises to £255.25.

On the other hand, savings credit is an extra payment which is made for people who saved some money towards their retirement.

You can use the pension credit calculator on the government in order to find out if you’re eligible for pension credit.

In order to be eligible, you must live in England, Scotland, or Wales.

What’s more, you or your partner must have reached pension credit qualifying age.

A partner in this sense counts as a husband, wife, or civil partner (if you live with them), or someone else who you live with as if you were married.

From next week, on May 15, the rules to pension credit eligibility will change.

This mean that you’ll only be eligible to get it if you and your partner have both reached pension credit qualifying age.

On top of this, one of you must have reached pension credit qualifying age and is claiming Housing Benefit.

Should you not be eligible, the government website says that you can instead apply for Universal Credit – which according to i News, is worth hundreds of pounds less per month.

According to figures calculated by Age UK, in 2019 to 2020, out of the 15,000 affected by the reform, 4,650 mixed-age couples would lose out on £35,000 as a result of having to wait at least five years for their younger partner to reach state pension age.

If you don’t already claim pension credit, are in a couple, and are eligible, it could be worth claiming the payment now, ahead of the deadline.

In fact, the charity Age UK are urging pensioners who think they may be entitled to pension credit, and have a partner, to apply by May 14.

That’s because if you’re already getting pension credit and are in a couple, you’ll continue to do so after the changes on May 15 – regardless of your other half’s age.

It’s worth being aware that if your entitlement stops for any reason, for example your circumstances change, then you would no longer be able to get it again until you, or your partner are eligible under the new rules.

The Department for Work and Pensions said: “This change was voted on by Parliament in 2012 and means, for new claims from 15 May, only pensioners can claim Pension Credit.

“If one partner is of working age we believe it’s fair that the same incentives to work and save for retirement apply as they do for other people of the same age.

“We have updated online guidance and written to all eligible mixed age couples to make them aware of the changes, which won’t affect them unless their circumstances change.”

READ MORE: Pension credit: How to apply and how you can claim it

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