Benefits and Entitlements for Older People

January 30, 2020

A recent study of elderly people found 42 per cent were unknowingly missing out on any state help, and a further 19 per cent were receiving some benefits but not others. The result is that up to £3.5 billion of benefits go unclaimed by older people every year.  We have therefore provided this guide to help people understand what benefits they may be entitled to and how to claim them.

1. Pension Credit

What is it?

Pension Credit is a benefit for people over State Pension age which tops up their income if they are struggling financially. Pension Credit comes in 2 parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is currently £167.25 for single people and £255.25 for couples.

Savings Credit is extra money if you’ve got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. It’s available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. This is currently £13.73 extra per week for single people and £15.35 for couples.

If you are eligible for Pension Credit you may also get other benefits such as:

  • you may not have to pay Council Tax;
  • you may get free NHS dental treatment; and
  • you may get a Cold Weather Payment of £25 when the temperature is 0°C or below for 7 days in a row.
Eligibility

You may be eligible for Guarantee Credit if you have reached State Pension age and your weekly income is less than £167.75 if you’re single, or £255.25 if you’re a couple.

If you are eligible, but your weekly income is higher than the thresholds, you can claim Guarantee Credit if:

  • you have a severe disability;
  • you are a carer; or
  • you have to pay housing costs like a mortgage.

Only those who have reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 are eligible to claim the Savings Credit part of Pension Credit. Whilst there isn’t a savings limit for Pension Credit, if you have over £10,000 this will affect how much you receive.

You may still be eligible for Pension Credit even if you are a homeowner. Nearly 90% of claims are successful and 2.5 million households across currently receive Pension Credit in the UK.

How to claim

You can claim by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234. You can fill in the application over the phone when you call and ideally should have the following information to hand:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about your income, savings and investments
  • Bank account details
  • Information about your pension (if you have one)
  • Details of any housing costs (such as mortgage, interest payments, service charges)
  • Partner’s details (if you have a partner)

 2. Housing Benefit

What is it?

Housing Benefit is a means-tested benefit to help people who are on low incomes cover some or all of their rent. The amount you can get depends on:

  • your savings
  • how much rent you pay
  • who you live with
  • how many rooms you have in your home
  • if you get disability or carer’s benefits
Eligibility

You are eligible if:

  • you pay rent;
  • you’re on a low income or claiming benefits; and
  • you have savings less than £16,000
How to claim

If you are not claiming other benefits, you contact your local council to request a Housing Benefit Claim Form. If you already get Pension Credit, contact the Pension Service to claim Housing Benefit with your claim for Pension Credit.

3. Council Tax Support

What is it?

Council Tax Support is a benefit to help people pay their Council Tax bill.

Eligibility

If you are on low income or receiving certain benefits, you may be able to claim.

Each council has different rules and the amount you may be entitled to depends on the following factors:

  • how much Council Tax you pay
  • your age
  • which benefits you receive
  • your income and savings
  • who you live with
How to claim

To claim you should contact your local council to find out about their Council Tax Support scheme and see if you qualify.

4. Winter Fuel Payment

What is it?

The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment to help with the cost of heating. If you qualify, you will receive £200 if you are under 80 and £300 if you are over 80.

Eligibility

You are eligible if you:

  • were born on or before 5 April 1954 (to be eligible for the financial year April 2019 to March 2020 – the eligibility birth date changes every financial year); and
  • have lived in the UK throughout the qualifying week (for the financial year 2019–2020, this is 16–22 September 2019)
How to claim

The Winter Fuel Payment is usually made automatically if you receive the State Pension or another benefit, such as Pension Credit. However, if you qualify and it is not being automatically paid you will need to make a claim by calling the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160.

5. Bereavement Support Payment

What is it?

The Bereavement Support Payment is a benefit paid to widowers, widows or surviving civil partners who are bereaved on or after 6 April 2017.

It consists of an initial lump-sum payment of £2,500 followed by up to 18 monthly instalments of £100 at the standard rate.

Eligibility

You are eligible if, when your husband, wife or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017, you were either:

  • under State Pension age; or
  • over State Pension age and your husband, wife or civil partner wasn’t entitled to a State Pension based on their own national insurance contributions

Additionally, your husband, wife or civil partner must have either:

  • paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year; or
  • died because of an industrial accident or disease
How to claim

You can claim by calling the DWP Bereavement Service on 0800 731 0469 or downloading and completing a claim form on the gov.uk website.

6. TV Licence Concessions

What is it?

If you are 75 or over, you can currently get a free TV licence (however plans have recently been announced to means test the TV licence for those over 75 from June 2020).

Eligibility

You are currently eligible if you are 70 or over.

How to claim

In order to claim this, you need to contact TV licencing to apply for the free licence. When contacting them, you will need the following information:

  • your name and address;
  • your date of birth;
  • National Insurance number or a photocopy of your passport, driving licence or birth certificate; and
  • your TV licence number

 7. Attendance Allowance

What is it?

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need help with personal care or supervision because of illness or disability.

If you need help during the day or night you can claim £58.70 per week and if you need help during the day and night you can claim £87.65 per week (rates for April 2019 – April 2020). You can use the money in any way you like to meet your needs and stay independent in your own home.

Eligibility

You are eligible if you:

  • are over State Pension age;
  • could benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, or supervision to keep you safe during the day or night;
  • have any type of disability or illness, including sight or hearing impairments, or mental health issues such as Dementia; and
  • have needed help for at least 6 months. (If you’re terminally ill you can make a claim straight away.)
How to claim

You can claim by calling the Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 or downloading and completing a claim form on the gov.uk website.

About The Care Collection

The Care Collection’s highly trained team of professionals provides bespoke, high quality home care packages to older adults (65+), younger adults (18-65) and children and adolescents (0-17) across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield. Services range from long term complex care through to support with everyday living including companionship, domestic support and personal care. The care packages can be tailored from 1 hour home visits to 24/7 live-in care and are available 365 days a year.