Benefits you're entitled to: the over-60s

Last updated: Apr 1st, 2015
Feature by Rosie Murray-West

According to older people's charity Age UK, 16% - or 1.8 million - of pensioners live in poverty, and yet the benefits targeted at this section of society are the most likely to go unclaimed.

The government estimates that around one and a half million pensioners do not claim one of the most important benefits for the retired - Pension Credit - with up to £2.8 billion unclaimed every year. The average amount unclaimed is significant - £1,092 per person, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Other benefits that also go unclaimed by older people include housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Alison Taylor, director of operations at the Elizabeth Finn Trust, which runs the Turn2us benefits advice service, says that many pensioners are "not aware of the financial support available to them, with eight in 10 of those eligible for Pension Credit simply not taking it up.

"We know that the complexity of the benefits system and perceived stigmas around claiming can deter pensioners from accessing this vital support," she adds. "Yet feedback from our users shows how this extra income can make a huge difference to their quality of life."

The benefits that are on offer change as you get older - with some available to people as young as 50 years old. Help is available to ensure that you claim what you are entitled to. Here is an overview of what you can claim in your 60s.

Benefits in your 60s

Although most people born after 1950 won't be able to claim their state pension until their mid-60s, and many are expected to work up until that point, there are some benefits that are available from the age of 60. Here are some of the most important:

Free prescriptions and sight tests

Once you reach the age of 60, any medicine prescribed by a doctor is free anywhere in the UK. Until that age, prescriptions are free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but those living in England pay £8.05 per prescription.

To get your free prescriptions, make sure you tell the chemist at the till and fill in the back of the prescription. You might have to show proof of age. You will also receive an invitation every two years to be screened for bowel cancer.

Free bus travel

If you're living in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, you can get free bus travel if you're over 60. In Northern Ireland, you may get cheaper rates on other sorts of public transport, too.

If you live in England, you will have to wait longer for free bus travel. Older people are entitled to free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in England, once they become eligible. This depends on where you live and when you reach state pension age. You can tap in your details at gov.uk/apply-for-elderly-person-bus-pass to find out if you qualify.

Also, from the age of 60, you will be eligible to buy a Senior Persons Railcard from National Rail for travel across Great Britain, which gives you a third off all off-peak rail travel for a year for £30.

Further information

  • Visit turn2us.org.uk for a benefits calculator or call the freephone helpline on 0808 802 2000.
  • Contact ageuk.org.uk for advice specifically aimed at older people or call the freephone number 0800 169 6565.

 

BENEFITS YOU'RE ENTITLED TO: THE OVER-50S

BENEFITS YOU'RE ENTITLED TO: STATE PENSION AGE

BENEFITS YOU'RE ENTITLED TO: THE OVER-65S

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