Retirement benefits for people affected by dementia
People affected by dementia may be entitled to retirement benefits. Find out what these are and how to claim them.
If you are affected by dementia and are nearing State pension age, you may be able to claim retirement benefits. These include:
- State pension
- Pension credit.
2022/23 rates for retirement benefits
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New state pension
- Full rate: £203.85 a week
If you don’t have sufficient contributions you may be entitled to a reduced amount.
Old state pension
- Basic pension: £156.20 a week (check variables)
Standard minimum guarantee
Your current income will be compared to the relevant amount below. If your income is less than this amount, guarantee credit tops you up to that amount.
- Single person: £201.05 a week
- Couple: £306.85 a week
- Additional amount for severe disability: £76.40 a week per qualifying person (£152.80 if both qualify)
- Additional amount for carers: £42.75 a week
Savings credit (maximum payable)
The savings credit element of pension credit stopped being offered to new claimants after April 2016. But if you were eligible and claimed before this date, you will continue to receive it until the government decides to remove it.
- Single person: £15.94 a week
- Couple: £17.84 a week
A State pension is paid to people who reach State pension age if they have made enough National insurance contributions. It is taxable.
What is State pension age?
The pension age for men and women is gradually rising. It is currently 66 and is set to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
There are two different types of State pension, depending on when you reach State pension age:
- the 'basic State pension'
- the 'new State pension' (for people who reach State pension age on or after April 2016).
With the new State pension, your pension will be set at a higher level, but you will need a longer National insurance record of your own.
Can I claim a State pension?
If you have reached State pension age, you may be able to claim a State pension. This will depend on your National insurance contributions. If you have not made enough contributions you may receive a reduced State pension or no pension at all.
Under the previous rules, women and widowed people, divorced people, civil partners and same-sex spouses who did not have sufficient contributions of their own were able to claim on the contributions of their partner or former partner. This stopped being possible in April 2016.
People over 80 who do not qualify for a State pension or full State pension may be eligible for an over-80s pension, which does not depend on National insurance contributions.
Should I claim the new or the basic State pension?
If you were born on or after these dates you must claim the new State pension:
- 6 April 1951 if you’re a man
- 6 April 1953 if you’re a woman.
If you were born before these dates, you would claim the basic State pension.
The date when you become eligible for some benefits and for your State pension depends on your gender. This may lead to confusion or concern for some trans people.
If you have a Gender recognition certificate, your gender will be legally recognised from the date of your certificate. Your social security benefits including pensions will be paid according to the gender on your certificate.
This means that your right to any benefit or pension may change. It may also affect National insurance contributions, your tax liability and any benefits and pensions you or your spouse or civil partner receive now or in the future.
Before you apply for a Gender recognition certificate it’s a good idea to get further information on how doing so in your circumstances may affect your finances.
For more information go to the government website.
How much will I get from a State pension?
Not everyone will receive the same amount of State pension as it depends on their National insurance contribution history.
Can I increase my National insurance contributions?
You can check your National insurance record to find out if you have any gaps in your contributions. You might be able to pay voluntary National insurance contributions if you want to increase your State pension amount.
If you are below State pension age but unable to work, you may be able to protect your right to a State pension by getting National insurance credits. These are automatically given to people receiving certain benefits, such as:
- Employment and support allowance
- Child benefit
- Carer’s allowance.
Carers who do not receive these benefits may be able to get a weekly Carer’s credit to build up their State pension entitlement.
When can I claim a State pension?
You can claim your pension if you are still working. However, if you want to, you can defer (delay) your pension and then get a higher weekly pension when you claim it later.
How can I claim a State pension?
If you are entitled to a State pension, the Pension Service should contact you about three months before you reach State pension age.
They will give you a phone number to call for information. Your queries will usually be discussed over the phone or by post, but the service can arrange for someone to visit you at home if necessary.
If you have not heard from the Pension Service two months before reaching State pension age, contact the State pension claim line.
Once you get the letter from the Pension Service, you can put in a claim for your State pension online or by phoning the State pension claim line. Claim as soon as you receive the letter or it may not be processed in time.
What is Pension credit?
If you claim the State pension but it is not enough for you to live on, or if you cannot claim it, you may be entitled to other benefits such as Pension credit.
The age at which you are eligible to claim Pension credit will increase in line with the changes to the State pension age.
Can I claim Pension credit?
Many people who are entitled to Pension credit don’t realise they are eligible, and miss out because they haven’t applied. It’s best to get a benefits check from a local organisation because the rules are complicated – contact Citizens Advice or Age UK for support.
There are also other organisations that can give further information and support on benefits for people affected by dementia.
How much will I get in Pension credit?
Pension credit is means-tested. It has two parts:
- Guarantee credit works by topping up a person’s income if they are on a low income.
- Savings credit is extra money for people aged 65 and over who have an income above the basic retirement pension level, or who have savings or investments. No new claims for Savings credit have been accepted since April 2016, but people who already receive it will continue to do so.
Some people are entitled to both the Guarantee and Savings credits, while others are entitled to one or the other.
You may receive extra amounts in your Pension credit if you are eligible for Carer’s allowance (even if you’re not actually receiving it), or if you receive other benefits (such as Attendance allowance or Personal independence payments).
Couples where one person is above pension age and one is below it can receive Pension credit based on the age of the older partner. However, since May 2019 you have to claim Universal credit to get this extra income, unless you were already receiving Pension credit before that date.
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