Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
13. Pension credit
Who can claim pension cre...
Qualifying age
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Qualifying age
The 'qualifying age' for PC is the minimum age that a woman can receive state retirement pension. For PC claimants (women and men) born before 6 April 1950, this is 60. For claimants born on or after 6 April 1950, this is increasing until it reaches 66 by 2020 and will eventually go up to 68. For more information, see CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.
Amount of benefit

PC is means tested and the amount you get depends on your income and whether you have any disabilities, caring responsibilities and eligible housing costs. From 1 February 2019, PC claimants who become responsible for a child or qualifying young person may get an additional amount (instead of getting child tax credit – CTC).

Guarantee credit

There are three steps for calculating your entitlement to guarantee credit.Footnote

Step one: calculate your appropriate minimum guarantee

This is the minimum weekly income the government decides you need to live on. It is made up of fixed amounts depending on your personal circumstances:Footnote the standard minimum guarantee of £163.00 if you are single, or £248.80 if you have a partner; a severe disability addition of £64.30 if you satisfy the conditions that apply for the income support (IS) severe disability premium (see Cross reference); a carer addition of £36.00 if you satisfy the conditions that apply for the IS carer premium (see Cross reference); eligible housing costs if you are a homeowner – ie, certain service charges. The rules about who can get help with housing costs, when help starts and how much you get are explained in CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook; an additional amount for dependent child(ren). This may apply after 1 February 2019 if you are responsible for child or qualifying young person and you are not getting CTC for her/him. The amount for the eldest or only child if s/he was born before 6 April 2017 is £63.84. The amount for any other children is £53.34. An additional £88.34 is added if the child is severely sight impaired or blind or is entitled to the highest rate of the care component of DLA or the enhanced daily living component of PIP. Alternatively, an additional £29.02 is added if the child gets any other rate of DLA or PIP.Footnote

Step two: work out your weekly income

This is the amount you have from any pension and other sources each week. Not all your income counts. For details, see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

See the relevant chapters of this Handbook for how specific income (eg, fostering allowances and payments from the local authority) is treated.

Step three: deduct income from appropriate minimum guarantee

The resulting amount is your guarantee credit. If your income is more than your appropriate minimum guarantee, you are not entitled to guarantee credit.

Savings credit

The maximum weekly savings credit you can get is £13.40 if you are single, and £14.99 if you have a partner. For details of how it is calculated, see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

14. Personal independence payment

Personal independence payment (PIP) is a benefit for people with mobility problems and/or care needs as a result of a disability. It replaces disability living allowance (DLA) for claimants aged 16 to 64. If you are aged 16 or over and are already on DLA, you will be invited to claim PIP, unless you were already aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013.

PIP has two components:

a daily living component, paid at either the standard rate or the enhanced rate;

a mobility component, paid at either the standard or the enhanced rate.

You can get either the daily living component or the mobility component, or both. PIP is not means tested and you do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get it.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of PIP.

Who can claim personal independence payment

You can qualify for PIP if:Footnote

you are aged 16 or over and, in most cases, under pension age. At the time of writing, this means you must be aged under 65. Your pension age will be after you turn 65 if you were born on or after 6 December 1953 (ie, if you reach 65 on or after 6 December 2018) and it is due to rise to 66 by September 2020;

you satisfy certain UK residence and presence conditions and are not a ‘person subject to immigration control’. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details;

you satisfy the disability conditions (see below) for the daily living component, the mobility component or both;

you satisfy the ‘required period condition’, which means that you have met the disability conditions for at least three months and are expected to continue to meet them for a further nine months. This condition does not apply if you are terminally ill.

Disability conditions

In addition to satisfying the basic conditions of entitlement, you qualify for a component of PIP if your ability to undertake either ‘daily living activities’ or ‘mobility activities’ is limited by your mental or physical condition (for the standard rate), or it is severely limited by your mental or physical condition (for the enhanced rate).Footnote Your ability is assessed by a points-based test which considers how your mental or physical condition affects your ability to undertake specific activities.

The relevant 'daily living activities' are:

preparing food;

taking nutrition;

managing therapy or monitoring a health condition;

washing and bathing;

managing toilet needs or incontinence;

dressing and undressing;

communicating verbally;

reading and understanding signs, symbols and words;

engaging with other people face to face;

making budgeting decisions.

The relevant 'mobility activities' are:

planning and following journeys;

moving around.

Under each of the activities, there is a list of statements (called ‘descriptors’) which describe different difficulties or types of help needed with the activity. Each descriptor has a points score, and you are awarded one descriptor for each activity. Your entitlement to a component is assessed by:Footnote

adding together the descriptors that you satisfy for each activity relevant to that component; and

comparing your total score with a ‘threshold’ for entitlement to the standard or enhanced rates of the component. The threshold is eight points for the standard rate and 12 points for the enhanced rate.

You are only assessed as being able to undertake an activity at a level described by the descriptor if you can complete it ‘reliably’. This means that you are only awarded a particular descriptor (rather than a higher scoring one) if you can undertake the activity:Footnote

safely – ie, in a way that is unlikely to cause harm to you or anyone else;

to an acceptable standard;

repeatedly – ie, as often as it is required;

within a reasonable time period – ie, not more than twice the maximum time normally taken by someone with no health problems or disability to complete the activity.

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