Benefits and financial help for over 60s
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State Pension

  • This is money paid to people who have reached state-pension age. Whether you can get it depends on your National Insurance (NI) contribution record. If you have not paid enough NI, you might be covered by your husband or wife's or civil partner's contributions. You can check your NI record here
  • The full basic State Pension is currently £115.95 a week
  • The age when you can claim your State Pension is increasing and will depend on your date of birth. You can work out your exact State Pension age by using the Gov.uk state pension credit calculator
  • You don't have to stop working in order to get State Pension. Your earnings will not affect the amount you get.  However, the amount of tax you pay may increase because State Pension is taxable.  State Pension also counts as income when working out your entitlement to other benefits.

The full basic State Pension is currently £115.95 a week

Pension Credit

  • Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for older people on a low income who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, the benefit can be claimed whether or not you are working
  • It has two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, and depending on your age, income and savings, you might be entitled to receive either or both. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a minimum level - £151.20 for single people and £230.85 for couples, and Savings Credit is to reward people who have some money saved towards their retirement
  • If you're a woman, you can claim Guarantee Credit when you reach State Pension age. If you're a man, you can claim Guarantee Credit when you reach the State Pension age of a woman born on the same day as you
  • You can work out the exact date of your State Pension age by using the Gov.UK state pension credit calculator
  • There are different rules for getting the savings credit, you or your partner can claim when you are 65 or over
  • The amount of Pension Credit you will receive will depend on your circumstances. Even if you are only entitled to a small amount of Pension Credit, it is worth claiming, as it can provide automatic entitlement to other benefits including Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
  • Pension Credit counts as income when working out your entitlement to other benefits.

Housing Benefit & Council Tax Support

  • Housing Benefit is paid to private or social tenants on low incomes to help with their rent and some service charges. If you are claiming the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, you will receive the maximum amount of Housing Benefit
  • You may also be eligible for help towards your Council Tax bill and if you’re claiming the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit you will get full help with the bill. In England, each local authority has its own Council Tax Support scheme so if you are not getting the Guaranteed Credit the amount that you will have to pay for council tax will depend on your capital and where you live. You can contact your local authority to find out what scheme they provide by using the Gov.UK local council finder
  • There is further information about Council Tax Support schemes in Wales and Scotland on the Turn2us website.

Attendance Allowance

  • If you are aged 65 and over and have care needs (you require help with activities of daily living), you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance
  • To qualify, you must not be living in a council care home or a hospital. You must usually have had care needs for at least six months before you can receive it, unless you are terminally ill
  • Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates depending on how often you need care. The lower rate is £55.10 per week if you need frequent care throughout the day or night and the higher rate is £82.30 per week if you need frequent care throughout the day and night or if you are terminally ill. It can be paid for a minimum of six months or longer if your care needs continue
  • Attendance Allowance does not include a mobility component. However, if you are already getting a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment mobility component when you become 65, you can continue to receive it
  • Receiving Attendance Allowance could increase the amounts paid in other benefits, so claimants may receive extra Housing Benefit or Pension Credit. Attendance Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out other benefits
  • If you get Attendance Allowance, someone looking after you might be able to claim Carer's Allowance. You can find out more about financial support when you're caring for someone here.

Personal Independence Payment

  • If you are aged under 65 and have care or mobility needs as a result of a disability you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment
  • It has two parts - the daily living component and the mobility component, you may qualify for one or both of these
  • You must have had the daily living and/or mobility needs for at least three months before you claim Personal Independence Payment and expect to have them for at least nine months after. No qualifying period applies if you are terminally ill, or if you are transferring onto Personal Independence Payment from Disability Living Allowance.
  • The daily living component is paid at two rates –a standard rate £55.10 and an enhanced rate £82.30
  • The mobility component is also paid at two rates - a standard rate £21.80 and an enhanced rate £57.45
  • If you start to get Personal Independence Payment, it might increase the amount of other benefits such as extra Housing Benefit and Pension Credit. Personal Independence Payment is normally ignored as income for working out entitlement to other benefits
  • If you get either rate of the Personal Independence Payment daily living component someone who cares for you might qualify for Carer’s Allowance
  • If you live in Northern Ireland you would need to claim Disability Living Allowance rather than Personal Independence Payment as the benefit has not yet been introduced in Ireland.

Winter Fuel Payment

  • Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off tax free payment to help with heating costs, made to households with someone over Pension Credit age. Any money you get won’t affect your other benefits
  • Most people born before 5 January 1953 will qualify for the payment in 2015/16 (the date changes every year)
  • Those receiving certain other benefits including the State Retirement Pension (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit) will be paid automatically usually between November and December; anyone who is not receiving other social security benefits and did not get a payment last winter will need to make a claim.You can find out more here.

Other help

Over 60s may also be eligible for transport concessions and health benefits:

  • In England you can receive a free bus pass when you reach State Pension age – you’ll need to contact your local authority to find out more.  In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland people over 60 get free bus travel.  For more information visit the Citizens Advice Concessionary Fares for older passengers website.
  • Everyone aged 60 and over qualifies for free prescriptions and a free NHS eye test every two years. Depending on your circumstances and the benefits you receive, you may also be eligible for help with other NHS health costs. For more information, visit the NHS Help with health costs website.

Even if you have checked your entitlements in the past, it's worth checking again

Check your entitlements

There are other welfare benefits you may be entitled to depending on your personal circumstances. You can use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check which benefits you are entitled to, the amounts you may receive and how to make a claim. Even if you have checked your entitlements in the past, it is worth checking again, especially if you have recently had a change in circumstances.

  • Thanks to Linda Gyamfi, Welfare Benefits Specialist at the charity Turn2us for sharing this information.

Read our 10 tips to help you save as you near retirement here. Plus find out about next year's state pension changes here.