There are some different rules that apply when we calculate Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Support (CTS) for pensioners. This page gives some details about what those rules are and where pensioners can find further information.

Under Council Tax rules, pensioners have a prescribed Council Tax Support scheme which gives them a degree of protection when claiming for help to pay their Council Tax. See Council Tax Support for more information.

What is a pensioner?

A pensioner is a person who has reached state pension age. This will vary depending on your date of birth. Use the State Pension calculator to work out what age this is for you. If the person is in a couple has reached state pensionable age, then they are a pensioner couple even if the partner is under pension age.

There is a general exception to this. Where either the claimant or their partner is aged 60 to 64 and in receipt of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. In this case that person is of working age and available for work. This makes their claim working age.

Differences between pensioner and working age claims

There are several differences in the way we work out HB and CTS when it comes to pensioners. These differences usually give pensioners higher entitlement than working age people (under 60). Some examples are listed below:

Applicable amounts - These are used by us to work out HB and CTS entitlement. Pensioners get higher applicable amounts than working age people. See Calculating Housing Benefit and Calculating Council Tax Support for more information about applicable amounts.

Savings - The savings limits that apply are more generous.

  • Up to £10,000 of your savings are ignored.
  • We add £1 for every £500 above £10,000 to your income as assumed income from capital (£1 for every £250 for working age). The capital limit is £16,000. See Savings and capitalfor more information.

Backdating - If you are a pensioner your claim for HB or CTS is automatically backdated for 3 months (no automatic backdate for working age). See Backdating claims for more information.

Non-dependant deductions - if you or your partner are at least 65 years old, there is a 26 week delay deductions for non dependant adults to apply. Where a non dependant joins your household or the deduction for the non dependant increases e.g. their gross income increases, the deduction is delayed for 26 weeks. See Non-dependants for more details.

Reporting changes in circumstances

When your claim for HB or CTS is assessed your benefit will continue to be paid until you tell us about any changes. You may be sent a letter to review your claim - usually within 5 years. It is very important that you check any letters we send to you to make sure the information we use to work out your benefit is correct.

If you do not get Pension Credit

If any of your circumstances change you must let us know straight away. Some examples of changes are shown below:

  • changes to non-dependants
  • changes to income and capital, savings where the total is over £6,000
  • change of address or if you are temporarily absent from your normal home
  • changes in rent or your tenancy

Please see Reporting changes for more information.

If you get Pension Credit

You must tell us of the following changes straight away to avoid overpayments:

  • If you move out of your home; or
  • If you have a change to child maintenance or child tax credit or
  • If your total savings and capital goes over £16,000 and you get just the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit, you still need to tell us.

For any other changes you must let The Pension Service know not us.

If you get Guarantee Credit or Guarantee Credit plus Savings Credit, we ignore your income and savings, so we do not need to know about changes to these.

See Reporting changes for more information. The second page of your Pension Credit award letter tells you what elements of Pension Credit you are receiving and how much.

If The Pension Service has set an assessed income period, you will not have to notify them of changes in state or private pensions or annuity income and capital until the end of that period. The assessed income period is written on the first page of your Pension Credit award letter.

Claiming HB and CTS

Make a new claim

Contacting The Pension Service

Details should be on the first page of your Pension Credit award letter. Their telephone number is 0845 6060265.

If you decide you wish to make a Pension Credit claim telephone the Pension Credit Application Line on 0800 99 1234.

Related links

Contact us

Merton Benefits Service
PO Box 610
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Telephone: 020 8274 4903