The Government recently introduced a financial benefit which will be administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. This is targeted at older people.
With effect from 6 October 2003 everyone aged 60 and over is guaranteed an income of at least:
- £102.10 a week if they are single, or
- £155.80 a week if they have a partner
Additionally, if someone (or his or her partner) is aged 65 or over they are likely to be entitled to a Pension Credit if their weekly income is less than:
- £139.10 if they are single, or
- £203.80 if they have a partner
You may still be able to get a Pension Credit if your weekly income is more than these amounts. If for example you or your partner are severely disabled, or you look after a person who is severely disabled, or you have housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.
There has also been some relaxation of the rules which restricted benefits where people had savings.
The precise computation of the eligibility and amount of Pension Credit can be complicated and we suggest that if you consider that you may be eligible you should apply for Pension Credit to the Department for Work and Pensions. A freephone number (0800 991234) has been published. When claiming you will need to have to hand your National Insurance Number (and that of any spouse or partner) and details of current income which will include existing pensions, any earnings, and any income from savings or investments.
A couple of further points are that it is only the person who applies for Pension Credit that must be aged at least 60. It does not matter if their partner is under 60. From 2010, the age from which people can get Pension Credit will gradually change to 65.
The Department for Work and Pensions says all people over 60 will be written to with information on Pension Credit. It is understood that claims will be backdated to October 2003 but it is important that an application is made before October 2004.