Marking his fifth anniversary as his party's leader, the Deputy Prime Minister used a speech to break ranks with his Coalition partners and make clear the LibDems would "look again" at universal pensioner benefits.
He argued that welfare cash "should not be paid to those who do not need it".
He said: "I just don't think it's justifiable, when so many people are tightening their belts, to say multi-millionaire pensioners still receive universal benefits across the board."
The Prime Minister's spokesman made clear maintaining universal benefits for all pensioners was in the Coalition Agreement. "The Government is sticking to that policy," he said.
Labour was dismissive of Mr Clegg's differentiation strategy with Harriet Harman saying: "He will try every trick in the book to distance himself from the record of his government but, as ever with the LibDems, they say one thing while doing another."