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Check if a change affects your Pension Credit

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’re getting Pension Credit you must tell the Pension Service about changes to your money or living arrangements. The Pension Service calls this reporting a ‘change of circumstances’.

You have to tell them even if it seems like a small change, or it’s only for a short time. For example, you’ll need to tell them if someone in your house moves out - even if they’re planning to move back in.

It’s important to report a change of circumstances as soon as possible. The change might increase your payment and you might miss out on extra money if you tell the Pension Service late.

You should still tell the Pension Service if you think a change might reduce your Pension Credit - you won't save money by reporting it later. If you tell the Pension Service late you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is called an overpayment - check how the DWP deals with overpayments.

Changes you need to report

You’ll have to report changes to the Pension Service.

Report a change even if you’re not sure if you need to. The Pension Service will tell you if your Pension Credit will be affected.

You’ll need to report changes even if another government department already knows about them.

Changes to your work or money

Tell the Pension Service if:

  • your income goes up or down

  • you start to receive other benefits or if a benefit stops

  • you start or finish employment or self-employment

  • you notice there’s a change to your pension, savings or investments

  • you or someone else in your house starts receiving more or less money from their benefits

  • you or your partner receive back-pay, sometimes called arrears, for any money you’re owed. For example, extra money from a sales commission you’re owed or from covering someone’s shift

Changes to your personal details or where you live

Tell the Pension Service if:

  • you change your name

  • you move house

  • people move in or out of your home

  • you go into hospital, a care home or sheltered accommodation  

Changes to do with your family or relationships

Tell the Pension Service if:

  • you get married, divorced or form a civil partnership

  • your partner moves in with you or moves out

  • you start or stop caring for someone

  • your partner or someone living with you dies

If you're leaving the UK

Tell the Pension Service if you leave the UK for more than 4 weeks. Your Pension Credit will usually be stopped, unless you're away because:

  • a partner or a close relative has died - you can’t be away for more than 8 weeks

  • you, your partner or child are receiving medical treatment - you can’t be away for more than 26 weeks

You’ll stop getting Pension Credit if you leave the UK permanently.

If you're in an Assessed Income Period 

You’ll usually only be in an Assessed Income Period if you started claiming Pension Credit before 6 April 2016. Check your claim letter or call the Pension Service if you’re not sure.

Only tell the Pension Service about changes to your income or savings if these go down.

You’ll still need to report all other changes.

Your assessed income period will stop if:

  • a partner moves in with you or a partner you’re living with moves out

  • you move into a care home

  • you or your partner reach the age of 65

  • your pension stops or is reduced

Reporting a change

Call the Pension Service and tell them about the change. Someone else can call for you but you must be with them when they call.

Pension Service helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0469

Textphone: 0800 169 0133

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number are free.

After you’ve called it’s best to write a letter to the Pension Service to confirm the change. Explain what the change is and when it happened.

Ask the Post Office for proof of postage - you might need to show when you sent your letter.

You can find the address of your nearest Pension Centre on GOV.UK. You’ll need to know your postcode.  

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help reporting a change.

After you've reported a change

The Pension Service will work out how much Pension Credit you should be getting. They’ll write to you if your Pension Credit changes.

Contact the Pension Service if you don’t hear anything a month after you reported the change.

You can challenge the Pension Service if you disagree with their decision.

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