Q. I am thinking about leaving work. I am 67 years old and have been deferring my state pension.
I live with my wife, who is not working or claiming any benefits, and is not due to retire for a number of years. I have been given options regarding taking a larger state pension or taking a regular state pension with a lump sum. Which option would be better for me?
A. Depending on any other income or savings that you have, you may be entitled to claim Pension Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set amounts that they think that you need to live on; for a healthy couple that amount is £248.80 per week (that is for this year’s benefit rates).
When considering your savings/capital, the DWP ignore the first £10,000, then treat you as having income of £1 for every £500 of savings. That figure is known as your tariff income.
If, for example, you had the option of taking a state pension of £150 per week with a lump sum of £15,000, the DWP would treat that as you are having £10 per week in tariff income (£10,000 ignored, then £5,000 would be taken into account at £1 per £500). If that was your only household income then you would be entitled to Pension Credit at £88.80 per week.
If you took a higher state pension of £170 per week with no lump sum, for example, then you would be entitled to Pension Credit of £78.80 per week.
It may be the case that you do not see much difference in your entitlement. However, Citizens Advice should be able to do a full benefit check taking into account all of your circumstances. Search for your local Citizens Advice entre by inputting your post code on our website.