STATE PENSION age is rising in the UK. Currently, under changes being made to the 2011 Pensions Act, the state pension age is scheduled to reach 66 by October 2020. Beyond this, the state pension is expected to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. However, there are some closer dates that pensioners should be aware of.
Everyone will receive state pension so long as they have enough National Insurance contributions under their belt. To receive any level of state pension, at least 10 years of NI contributions will be needed. The new full state pension will be £168.60 a week for those who have over 30 years of NI contributions. This will be over £8,750 a year but it is important to check on individual state pensions online. The government will provide a predicted amount of what will be received as well as exact dates for reaching state pension age.
However, there is another aspect of state pensions which many people miss out on.
Pension Credit is an extra boost that certain retirees could receive. It is a perk which Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis refers to as ”one of the worst-claimed benefits out there”.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit split up into two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Guarantee Credit is designed to be a top up for weekly income, while savings credit is an additional payment for those who have saved money towards retirement.
The whole scheme is designed to help those on lower incomes.
People will qualify for Guarantee Credit if their weekly income is less than £167.25, or £255.25 for couples.
Money will be given to those with income less than these levels until it is reached.
So, for example, If an individual receives £140 a week in retirement income and they claim for Guarantee Credit they will receive an additional £27.25 a week (the difference between £167.25 and £140.)
Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who have saved some money towards their retirement, which can include personal pensions.
For those who qualify, they will receive up to £13.73 extra a week. Or, £15.35 for couples.
It may be possible to receive more in Pension Credits if the claimant is a carer, severely disabled, responsible for a child or young person, or have certain housing costs.
On top of this, qualifying claimants could also receive other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Cold Weather Payments and help with the costs of NHS services.
The government provides a benefits calculator to help users see what they’re eligible for.
Evidentially, Pension Credit is a very useful perk for people who qualify for it.
However, just like with State Pension age, Pension Credit also has qualifying age rules.
Anyone born between 6 March 1954 and 5 June 1954 have already qualified for Pension Credit. As we move forward into the year, more people will be able to qualify.
From 6 March 2020, anyone born between 6 June 1954 and 5 July 1954 will be able to qualify for Pension Credit.
Further updates to qualifying ages will occur on the 6 of May, July and September 2020.
For anyone who is eligible, applications can be put in for Pension Credit up to four months before the qualifying date.
Timing will need to be kept an eye on as the government warns that claims can only be backdated by three months.