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

Published by Rosie Murray-West on 01 April 2015.
Last updated on 12 May 2017

According to older people's charity Age UK, nearly three million people over 65 are struggling financially, while government figures show that 1.9m pensioners live below the poverty line. Despite this, the benefits targeted at older people are the most likely to go unclaimed.

The government estimates that up to 1.4 million pensioners do not claim one of the most important benefits for the retired - Pension Credit - with up to £3.1 billion unclaimed every year. The average amount unclaimed is significant – £2,000 per family, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Other benefits that also go unclaimed by older people include housing benefit and council tax benefit.

David Samson, welfare benefits expert at the Turn2us benefits advice service, run by the Elizabeth Finn Trust, says that many pensioners are not aware of the financial support available to them. “For example, they may be getting their state pension but not be aware that they are entitled to pension credit,” he says. “The rules for pension credit are more generous than the rules for working people, so they may have an entitlement that they don’t realise.”

"It’s important to get the message out there as we know that claiming the correct benefits can make a huge difference to quality of life."

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says: "Despite millions of older people struggling financially, around £3.5 billion in money benefits remains unclaimed every year when this extra income could make a huge difference to their lives.”

The benefits that are on offer change as you get older - with some available to people as young as 50 years old. 

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 £8.60 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, while an additional one-off bowel scope screening test is being introduced from the age of 55.

Free bus travel

If you're living in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, you can get free bus travel if you're over 60 - although Scotland is currently consulting on raising the age from which you receive free bus travel. 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. You can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the female state pension age, whether you’re a man or a woman. You can tap in your details at gov.uk/apply-for-elderly-person-bus-pass to find out if you qualify.

If you live in London, you can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport when you're 60, but only within London.

To get a free bus pass you need to complete an application form from your local council in England and Wales, complete an application form from your local borough or council in London, and complete an application form from your local authority or from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, you can complete an application form from any manned Translink bus or rail station, by phoning 0845 600 0049 or by emailing smartpass@translink.co.uk.  

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 2081.

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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I recently turned 60 and have

I recently turned 60 and have been told that the widows benefit is to be reduced as I contributed to my works pension. As my retirement age has been increased to 66 should not I still receive the full widows benefit until that time?

Thank you ..wasnt sure if i

Thank you ..wasnt sure if i had any entillments once i reached 60

I am 61 and unemployed. My

I am 61 and unemployed. My husband works partime and we are on a low income.
I would like to know where to apply for help as we are struggling and don't know which direction to take or what benefits I'm entitled too.

Hi Nancy, we're sorry to hear

Hi Nancy, we're sorry to hear about your circumstances. Moneywise recommends you contact Turn2Us for free advice on 0808 802 2000, or alternatively AgeUK at ageuk.org.uk for advice specifically aimed at older people or call the freephone number 0800 169 2081.

hi i am nearly 60 years old

hi i am nearly 60 years old after 15 days can you help me to see what i can get benefit please thank you

Just wanted to know if I'm

Just wanted to know if I'm entitled to gas and electricity discount

I'm 60 do I get discount on

I'm 60 do I get discount on my gas bill

i am not working or claming

i am not working or claming any benefits . am i entitle to free dental care

I have carer's allowance for

I have carer's allowance for looking after my daughter, but will be 60 on sept 2nd is there any other benieft i can claim

I have just turned 60 and

I have just turned 60 and would like to know what i am entitled to please any help with mt rent water or c/tax Many thanks.

I'm nearly 63 is old I've

I'm nearly 63 is old I've been living on my savings now I have no savings on the way to live what benefits am I allowed I don't know I'm not housing benefit or housing can I hope to get help with please

Hello. I am 61 years old and

Hello. I am 61 years old and have just started a full time degree course. Appently I can get my fees paid by 'Student Loans' and get 'Special Support Loan' (of £3566 pa Max) plus Councilt Tax benefit. Can I claim Income Support being on such a low income?? Or Working Tax Credits if I do some agency work?? Many Thanks

Am I entitled to gas and

Am I entitled to gas and electric discount as I have just turned 60

Hi I am 61 a was made a widow

Hi I am 61 a was made a widow this year, I get widows pension till next March. I Do however get his private pension till I am 64, Am entitled to any of his state pension

I am 65 and get pension and

I am 65 and get pension and pension credit. My husband is 63 is he entitled to any benifits in his own right..

Hi I am Beverley I am 60

Hi I am Beverley I am 60 years old and I can't find a job and i am living In a shared house which my daughter payed for me for a month if I don't find work soon I will be living in the underground what do I do thanks bev

Very helpful information

Very helpful information