Benefits you're entitled to: the over 60s

Last updated: Nov 5th, 2012
Feature by Sarah Coles

There's one thing we all know about benefits: they're about to be cut to the bone. In future, only the most needy will be entitled to government assistance, and even they may well receive less support than before.

These changes are on the near horizon - but at the moment, many generous benefits still remain in place. Yet a huge chunk of this cash goes unclaimed: the most recent estimates at the beginning of this year put the amount at £16.8 million.

So it's worth getting to grips with what's available now and what will be around in the future - and what you may be entitled to.

OLDER PEOPLE

State Pension

The amount of pension you receive and the age at which you'll get it will depend on your circumstances.

Check your state pension entitlements

How it works...

Men can receive a state pension at 65, but between 2018 and 2020 this will gradually rise to 66, with further rises due later. The women's pension age has already started to rise from 60, and will reach 65 in 2016. It will then rise in line with men's pensions.

To qualify for the basic state pension you'll need to have built up 30 'qualifying years' of national insurance contributions. If you retired after April 2010, you may get credit for those years you didn't work due to caring responsibilities or if you were claiming certain benefits.

The basic state pension for 2012/13 is £107.45. If you've built up some years of NI contributions but not enough to qualify for the full state pension, the amount you receive will be calculated by the number of qualifying years.

Additional State Pension

You may also be entitled to the additional state pension if you've been working, or caring for a child under 12 or other dependants, or claiming particular benefits.

You'll not be entitled to the additional pension if you've 'contracted out'. The amount you receive will depend on qualifying years and when they were.

Pension Credit

There are two kinds of credit: the guarantee credit, which could top up your income to £137.35 (£209.70 if you have a partner), and the savings credit, which rewards those with modest private pensions savings. This can be up to £20.52 a week (£27.09 a week if you have a partner).

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You may be entitled to either type, or both.

The amount will depend on your weekly income and how much you've saved. It will take into account earnings, pension income and some benefits, and will reduce by £1 a week for every £500 (or part of £500) of savings or investments you have over £10,000, excluding the value of your home.

Additional benefits

These benefits include concessionary coach travel for over-60s; a winter fuel allowance of between £100 and £300 this year; and attendance allowance for the disabled.

Your Comments

If you stop working at aged 60, you can apply for Pension Credit on the rates noted above, as far as I know savings credit is not applicable until you are 65.

Also it seems that savings credit applies to pension income and not the savings you have, as it appears that they "tax" you at £1 per week for every £500 you have saved!

Peter.

How is it that anyone on guaranteed pension credit due to low income can inherit in excess of £200,000 and STILL be entitled to have their rent paid and council tax paid - apparently they can have any amount behind them once they are on guaranteed pension credit - extremely unfair (they also get help with glasses and teeth) This is an anomoly that urgentlyneeds to be sorted!

I live in Scotland with my husband who is 58 has worked since he left school 40 odd yrs ago until we went in to business together a few yrs ago which lasted 3yrs until we lost it. We both went back to college and retrained as we both want to work. We both got jobs, I'm still employed, his lasted 18 mnths and was closed down he went to sign on and was told he won't receive any benefits as he had not worked 2 full tax yrs and I was working to support the both of us. He then found another job which again lasted roughly 18 mnths and again he could not claim benefits in fact he was told to sign off as did many of his friends who went to sign on as well, as there was no point signing on. He does not get free dental treatment or glasses like some and all because I am working and because I earn just over the amount for working tax credit I can't even claim that. We get no help from anyone. We would be better of if I was paid off from my job. I know we are not alone there are probably thousands of people in the same position as us. This country does not encourage workers just scroungers which is bringing this country to its knees.

I am over 65 and would like to know how to claim free bus and concessionary coach travel for over-60s;

I do not see why benefits have to be paid to any one who comes into UK.
If we enacted a social security act that said that 16/18 years residence was needed to claim benefits this would be fair and eqitable to both new comers and those born here as they would be treated exactly the same.
WHO HAS THE POLITICAL GUTS TO EVEN SUGGEST IT. nOT THE CURRENT POLITICAL PARTIES.

  I'm just 65 now still working after 40 years full employment my wife is just 60 and has not been a wage earner for some time have cared for the children and me.  Now facing imminent redundancy or "forced retirement"  I cannot give up work until at least 68 in my current financial situation.  Small LA pension (only ten years service which is far from the impression that is given about local authority workers) and now they start shifting women's pensionable age, It might not seem fair to some but does have a significant effect on men as well. I have paid both my children through University plus exorbitant rates of National Insurance and Tax.  Neither of them have student loans or recieved grants and despite good degrees are unable to get appropriate employment.
 

I have been told that I cannot have a bus pass until I receive a state pension, which for me will be next year when I am 62.  I was definately born the wrong year, as I didn't receive cold weather payment either.

You have my sympathy being a sufferer like yourself.  Not only do we miss out on a buspass and cold weather payment but also if you were born within April 52 and Apr 53 you get (basic for the rest of your life) a state pension of £107- (just the females not the males)   if you were born after that date you get a state pension of £140 flat rate (basic for the rest of your life) - (for both men and women).  They will not even give a divisional amount each month up to the end date to £140 as a fair deal - it is just that one big jump.  Are you and any of your friends born in what they call 'the slippage year' interested in going on a protest if enough of us get together?
 

Yes you won't receive any benefits other than free perscriptions until you reach your pensionable age. I know its hard it seems as you just missed the deadline of 60 but really think yourself lucky in that all the people just slightly older than you are having to wait even longer. I'm in your boat. 6 weeks to young. But we have done well in other areas, like free uni and grants. Not so bad really. 
 

Oh dear, I have just read your remark. I thought I would be receiving £137? Dammit. My birthday is 14.2.52. Can't we top up with pension credits? There is no way I can live on £107. I paid into my teaching pension late as I was married and my exe husband paid into a scheme for me in the civil service. However when we separated he took that away. Foolishly I had not thought about the future, so I started only paying into my TPfund late which allows me a minute pension on £658 pa approx. That is not going to go very far is it? I think there should be a demo, or petition at least NOW.