There are many different benefits and allowances available for elderly people in the UK. They vary from person to person depending on income, savings and how many people live in your household but it is always worth checking what you are eligible for. An estimated 1.3 million eligible households don’t claim and according to Age UK, that’s £3.5bn worth of potential benefits going unclaimed by older people each year. You may be missing out on benefits that could make your day to day life a little bit easier.
At Lifeline24, we understand how daunting it can seem to apply for benefits. So, we have provided a short guide on some of the benefits you could be eligible for to help get you started.
Pension credit is related to your income and is made up of 2 parts.
Guarantee Credit tops up your income if you have a weekly income below £167.25 for single people or £255.25 for couples living together.
Savings Credit is worth up to £13.73 a week for a single person or £15.35 for couples. It’s an extra payment for those who saved money towards retirement. However, if you reached state pension age on or after 6th April 2016 you may not be eligible for savings credit.
Pension credit can be used to top up income for people who receive other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance. It also enables you to claim other benefits such as housing benefit and free NHS dental treatment.
The best way to apply for pension credit is by phone on 0800 99 1234 (Textphone 0800 169 0133). You should have your NI number, information about income and savings and bank account details to hand.
Many older people find themselves acting as a carer for a spouse or family member but don’t realise that they are entitled to an allowance. Don’t rule yourself out as a carer simply because you’ve cared for your loved one for a long time and feel it is your duty. You could still receive an allowance to make life a bit easier.
You could get £66.15 a week if you care for someone else for at least 35 hours a week.
According to the Government website, the person you care for must receive one of the following for you to qualify:
- Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
To claim Carer’s allowance call 0345 608 4321 (textphone: 0345 604 5312) or make your claim online.
If you are 65 or over and have a mental or physical disability that is severe enough to need assistance from another person, you may be entitled to Attendance Allowance.
The amount you receive will depend on how much help you require. If you need frequent help or supervision during the day or at night you may receive the lower rate of £55.10. If you require frequent help or supervision during both day and night you may receive the higher rate of £82.30. It doesn’t matter if you are actually receiving help and assistance or not, simply qualifying as needing help means that you should receive the allowance.
To apply, call the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0345 605 6055 (Textphone: 0345 604 5312). They will then send you a form and instructions on how to complete it.
Winter Fuel Payment
Winter Fuel Payment is designed to help with heating costs in households where someone over pension age resides. Failing to heat your home properly can cause many health problems including hypothermia so always make sure that you are receiving Winter Fuel Payment to help with the extra heating costs.
If you were born on or before 5th April 1954, you could get between £100 and £300 to help pay your heating bills. Any money you get will not affect your other benefits and allowances.
The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2019 to 2020 is 31 March 2020.
The payments are automatically made in November and December. If you don’t already receive Winter Fuel Payments, call 0345 915 1515 where you can make a claim and ask further questions. You only need to claim once as the payments should be made automatically every year after.
How can I find out more about benefits for the elderly?
If you would like further advice about what benefits you or an elderly relative could receive, contact your local Citizens Advice. You can find your nearest branch on their website.
You could also use a benefits calculator to see which benefits you might qualify for.