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How to take full advantage of the grants and benefits available to older people


As we get older, our finances can get tighter. In our later years - incomes drop, some expenses increase, and some people can really feel the squeeze. There is actually quite a lot of financial assistance available to older people out there, but they are not always well publicised or well known about.

So, we have done the hard work for you and sought out as many benefits and grants as possible. Not all of these may be applicable to you but taking advantage of even a few of these could make a significant impact in your day-to-day finances.


Contents


In the Home

- Boiler, Central Heating & Insulation

Under the governments ECO scheme, you may be able to claim a free, or heavily discounted replacement boiler and/or central heating. If your boiler is five years old or more and you have an annual household income of under £16,010 and receive pension credits, then you will probably automatically qualify for a free boiler.

But even if you don't qualify automatically, if you believe your current boiler and heating system is inefficient then you should still contact your energy supplier and ask if there is anything they can do for you under the ECO scheme.

How to claim:

Contact your energy provider.

Useful links:

Ofgem


- TV Licence

Until 31st July 2020, anyone over the age of 75 received a free TV licence. From 1st August 2020 this changed, and over 75's are now required to pay for their TV licence.

However, if you, or your partner living at the same address, receive pension credit (see below for more information on pension credit) and are over 75, then you are still eligible to receive your TV licence for free.

How to claim:

Call 0300 790 6117 to request an application form.

Useful links:

TV Licencing


- Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born before 5th October 1954, then you are probably eligible to receive an annual lump sum of cash to help pay for your fuel bills over the Winter season.

You should receive the payment automatically if you qualify and are receiving a state pension - but if not, you can claim it by phone or post.

The amount you get will vary depending on your personal circumstances but is between £100 and £300 pounds per annum.

How to claim:

Call 0800 731 0160 if you qualify but don't receive the payment automatically.

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


- Cold Weather Payment

This is not a guaranteed grant, but if you receive pension credit and the temperature in your area drops below zero degrees Celsius for 7 consecutive days or more, you can expect to receive some additional money to help you heat your home.

The scheme runs from 1st November and 31st March annually. The amount you will receive is £25 for each 7-day 'chunk' that the temperature is below zero.

How to claim:

If you receive pension credit, you should receive the payment automatically.

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


Finance

- Pension Credit

Incredibly, one third of all people who are entitled to receive pension credit don't claim it - so ensure you aren't missing out.

Pension credit offers additional money during retirement if you are on a low income. There are two types of pension credit - guarantee credit and savings credit. But please note that savings credit is only available to those that reached state pension age before April 2016.

Guarantee credit tops up your weekly income to a maximum of £265.20 if you are married and £173.75 if you are single.

You are eligible for pension credit once you reach state pension age, although whether you actually receive any money will also be dependent on your income. It is very important that you claim pension credit if eligible - even if you only qualify for a small amount. This is because receiving pension credit can make you eligible for other benefits.

How to claim:

You can claim up to 4 months before you want to start receiving pension credit. Call the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469 to start your application.

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


- Council Tax Support

Council tax needs to be paid each year, even in retirement, and can be a fairly sizeable chunk of money. Each UK council will offer some form of financial support to those in need of assistance in paying their council tax. How much discount you will receive will depend on a number of factors, but if you receive guarantee pension credit you may find your whole bill is paid for - so certainly worth investigating.

How to claim:

Contact your local council, or search online for [your local council] + "council tax support scheme". For example, "Wiltshire Council tax support scheme".

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


Health & Wellbeing

- Attendance Allowance

If you need assistance to look after yourself due to a physical or mental disability, and are over state pension age, then you may be entitled to attendance allowance.

Attendance allowance comes in two forms - partial or full - and the money can be used to pay for the services of a carer (although it doesn't have to be used for this).

Partial allowance is £59.70 and may be issued if you need assistance during the day or the night-time (but not both).

Full allowance is £89.15 per week and may be provided if you need assistance during both the day and night.

How to claim:

Download the attendance allowance claim form from here and post to: Freepost, DWP Attendance Allowance

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


- Carer's Allowance

If you care for someone else, such as a partner, then you may be able to claim carer's allowance.

Carer's allowance is £67.25 a week and may be paid to those that spend at least 35 hours per week caring for someone else. In order to claim carer's allowance, the person being cared for must already receive certain benefits, and your earnings must be less than £128 per week (once tax, National Insurance and expenses have been deducted). There are other eligibility criteria - it is advised you review these using the link below.

How to claim:

You can apply online here. There are also details on that page about how to apply via post if you prefer.

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


- NHS Discounts

If you claim pension guarantee credit, then you may qualify for significant NHS discounts. Note that these discounts are in addition to the free prescriptions and free eye tests you qualify for once you turn 60.

These discounts may include help paying for:

  • Dental treatments on the NHS
  • Glasses and contact lenes
  • Travel costs and parking when attending NHS appointments
  • Wigs and fabric-supports on the NHS

How to claim:

If you qualify for the discounted treatments, then you should mention this when booking an appointment and then show your benefit award letter when attending.

Useful links:

Citizens Advice


- Bereavement

If you have been recently bereaved, losing your wife, husband or civil partner, you may be able to claim bereavement support payment.

This payment is an initial sum of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly follow up payments of £100. In order to receive the full amount, you should apply within 3 months of your partners death. You can apply up to 21 months after they pass but applying late will result in receiving fewer monthly payments.

One major caveat to this payment is that you need to have been under State Pension age when they passed, so this is not applicable to those much later in life.

How to claim:

The easiest way is to apply by phone on 0800 731 0469

Useful links:

Details on the Gov.uk website


Transport

- Bus Pass, Rail & Coach Discounts

As we get older, cars may be less and less practical for travelling around. Failing eyesight or disability may make driving hazardous or not possible. Luckily there are certain discounts available to help older citizens remain mobile and connected to the wider world.

The first discount of note is that when you reach the female state pension age (regardless of whether you are a man or a woman), you qualify for a free buss pass. This means you can travel for free on local buses.

While this free travel isn't applicable to national coach travel, many national coach companies offer discounts to senior citizens in different forms. For instance, National Express offer a Senior Coachcard to over 60's, that costs around £15 per year. But this card gives the holder 1/3 off coach travel during that period. Check the relevant travel provider for more details of their offers.

Similarly, over 60's can purchase a Senior Railcard for as little as £23.33 per year, which provides 1/3 off rail fares. The average annual saving for senior railcard holders is £125 - so it's a no-brainer if you regularly travel by rail.

How to claim:

Free bus passes need to be claimed from your local authority - but you can enter your postcode on this page to be directed appropriately. National coach discount cards can be applied for on the website of the relevant travel provider (e.g. National Express, Megabus etc) and senior railcards can be purchased here.

Useful links:

Free bus pass details on the Gov.uk website.