We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).
StepChange Debt Charity logo
Go

This information applies throughout the UK. 

Pension Credit changes for people over 65 and their partners

How do changes to Pension Credit affect me and my partner?

Starting from May 2019, benefits for people aged over 65 and their partners are changing. If you’re aged over 65 and your partner is younger, you’ll no longer be able to apply for Pension Credit. 

Instead, all new benefit claims for ‘mixed age couples’ will fall under Universal Credit.

At present, mixed age couples, where one person is over the age of 65 and one is under, can claim Pension Credit. This is a benefit for older people and couples who need to top up their income.

From 15 May, mixed age couples will need to claim Universal Credit instead and only couples who are BOTH over pension age will be able to claim Pension Credit.

Over a million people who are entitled to Pension Credit don’t currently claim it. Around 50,000 of these people are estimated to be in mixed age couples.

We're urging all mixed age couples and people of pension age to find out if they qualify for Pension Credit before 15 May.

According to research conducted by Age UK, 1.6 million pensioners currently live on or below the poverty line*. 900,000 of this number are classed as being in ‘severe poverty’. As a result, hundreds of thousands of elderly people in the UK are struggling to cover basic essentials such as their food shopping, warm clothes, and winter heating.

What’s Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a relatively new benefit for that replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits. If a person’s on low or no income, Universal Credit is intended to help them cover their basic living expenses and housing costs.

Pension Credit pays £255.25 a week. In contrast, the maximum amount of money that a person can claim through Universal Credit is £114.85 a week. This amounts to £140 per week less.

Mixed aged couples on Universal Credit may also have to pay a portion of their council tax, and they wouldn’t be exempt from the under-occupancy charge (commonly known as the 'bedroom tax').

I think I’m affected by this benefits change – what should I do?

If you’re entitled to Pension Credit and claim it before the 15 May deadline, you won’t be affected. However, any claims for Pension Credit after the 15 May deadline will be too late, and you’ll have to claim Universal Credit instead. This could mean that you and your partner receive £140 per week less.

How can I check what I’m entitled to?

You can find out what benefits you may be entitled to by using our online benefits calculator.

Can I get any other financial help?

There are several organisations that can offer you financial support in case of an emergency. You may also qualify for government assistance with your energy bills.

*source: Age UK 2016 End Pensioner Poverty Campaign

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We link to external websites where they contain relevant information for our visitors. We're not responsible for the content of these websites, or any infringement on your data rights under data protection regulations by any external website provider.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2019