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Benefits for the elderly – Don’t miss out!

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The benefits system exists to help all sections of society, and that includes benefits for the elderly. There are around £5.5 billion of benefits that go unclaimed each year, simply because the people they are designed to help are unaware that they are available, or are unsure as to how to make a clam. Benefits aimed at the over-60s account for a significant portion of this unclaimed pot. If you or someone you know falls into this age-bracket then read on for advice on what benefits are available, and how to find out if you are eligible for them.

State Pension

Most people who reach state pension age can claim this benefit. It may not be automatically awarded, and anyone reaching pension age who has not received notification of payment within 3 months of that date should contact the Pension Service.benefits for the elderly

The age for state pension eligibility is changing, and although it is currently 65 for men, the age for women is steadily increasing from 60 to 65 by 2018. Legislation is already in place to increase state pension age further (boo!) to 68 for both men and women in the coming years. The amount received varies depending on the contributions to National Insurance that you and your partner have made throughout your working life.

Winter Fuel Payment

Paid to those of pensionable age each year to help with heating costs. Currently the rate is £200 for those aged under 80, and £300 for those aged over 80. Once you have applied, subsequent annual payments are normally automatic

Cold Weather Payment

Currently paid at a rate of £25 per week when average temperatures fall below 0 degrees Celsius for 7 days in a row from November to March, inclusive. Automatically paid to those receiving Pension Credits (see below), and certain other means tested payments

Housing Benefit

This a means tested payment that is available to those on very low incomes to assist with payment of rent. Housing benefit eligibility depends on a number of things, such as who you live with, the number of rooms in your house, and your income and savings

Attendance Allowance

This is available to anyone over 65 who is not already claiming Disability Living Allowance and requires help with day-to-day tasks such as washing, dressing or cooking. The money can be used to pay for care assistance or anything else you choose

Pension Credit

This comes in two forms – Guarantee Credit, which acts as a top up on weekly incomes that are below a minimum acceptable level set by government, and Savings Credit, available to those whose income is higher than the basic State Pension, or who have a small amount of savings – a successful claim for Pension Credits, no matter how small the value, can give you access to other benefits too

Bereavement Benefits

A one-off lump sum of up to £2000 is payable in some circumstances where a partner or spouse has died. A weekly Bereavement Allowance may also be paid to surviving partners of a certain age for one year following such a deathbenefits for the elderly

Other Benefits your should Know About

You may already be familiar with some or all of these, but if you are not receiving these benefits, or are unsure if they are available to you, then it may pay to get in touch with the Pension Service and ask the question:

  • Council Tax Reductions
  • NHS Benefits -everyone over the age of 60 qualifies for free eye-tests and free prescriptions, but your financial circumstances may also mean you qualify for free dental care, travel costs for attending medical appointments, and a contribution to the costs of glasses and contact lenses, wigs and fabric supports
  • TV License Reduction
  • Public Transport Concessions – covers everything from free bus passes and cheaper rail travel, to coach concessions and community transport schemes such as Shopmobility

In short, don’t miss out! If in doubt, contact the Pensions Service or your local benefits office and ask them to help you navigate the minefield of legislation that governs benefits payments. They are there for everyone who needs them.

 

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About Cally Worden

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About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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