As well as the state pension, those on low incomes or with serious health problems can claim extra support. However, many either don’t know what’s out there or assume they won’t get anything because they have savings or own their home. This is not always the case.
This checklist could help you see what’s available and who’s eligible.
Pension Credit. A means-tested income top up that increases the incomes of the poorest pensioners to £201.05 a week if they’re single or £306.85 for couples.
This is a gateway for other support including housing benefit, cost of living payments, council tax reduction, support for mortgage interest, a free TV licence from age 75, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, and the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Yet around 850,000 of the poorest pensions fail to claim. Call the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 to check eligibility. Staff can even help fill in the application for you over the phone.
Attendance Allowance. This helps with extra costs if you have a disability or health condition severe enough that you need someone to look after you. You could get either £68.10 or £101.75 a week, depending on the care required.
If eligible, you may also get increased Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. Attendance Allowance is not means tested. Call 0800 731 0122.
Personal Independence Payment. This pays money towards extra living costs if you have a long-term health condition or disability, and struggle to do certain everyday tasks as a result.
It comes in two parts. The daily living part pays a lower weekly rate of £68.10 and higher rate of £101.75. The mobility part pays either £26.90 or £71 a week.
You can claim even if you work, have savings or get other benefits. Call the PIP new claims phone line on 0800 917 2222.
Carer’s Allowance. You could get £76.75 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits, such as Attendance Allowance or PIP.
You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. Apply online at Gov.uk.
Housing Benefit. This means-tested benefit is designed to help those on low incomes cover their rent. What you get depends on who you live with, how much rent you pay, the number of rooms in your home and whether you claim disability benefits.
Council Tax Reduction. If you are disabled or on a low income, you may be able to claim some or even all of your council tax bill back, via the means-tested Council Tax Reduction. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
Each council runs its own scheme, and what you get depends on your income, savings and pensions (including your partner’s), and who lives with you. Typically, pensioners must have less than £16,000 in savings or capital to qualify.
If you receive Guarantee Pension Credit, you are entitled to the maximum Council Tax Reduction available in your local area. Apply online. After keying in your postcode, you’ll be directed to your local authority’s website.
This is sometimes confused with the Single Person Discount, a separate benefit that offers a 25 percent reduction to those living alone, a boon for single pensioners.
Household Support Fund. This £842million fund gives hard-pressed households support for essentials such as food, utilities and clothing. It has been extended until March 2024, with a third of the pot dedicated to pensioners.
Apply through your local council, which will request details of your household make up, earnings and expenses.
Cost of living support. Millions of households will also receive £300 from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) between October 31 and November 19, 2023.
This is the second of three payments totalling up to £900 supporting eligible people on means-tested benefits including tax credits, Universal Credit and Pension Credit.
Eligible pensioner households will also receive a further £300 payment later this year as an addition to the Winter Fuel Payment.
The £300 Cost of Living Payment will be sent out automatically and directly to recipients, meaning those eligible do not need to apply.
The payment reference for bank accounts will be the recipient’s National Insurance number followed by DWP COL or HMRC COLS.
The benefit system is notoriously complicated and valuable support is easily missed out. To find out more, visit government website Gov.uk or benefits site Turn2Us.org.uk. Age UK and Citizens Advice can also help.
Consider whether elderly family members, friends or neighbours may be missing out, especially if they would struggle to make a claim themselves. The right support can transform lives.