Benefits you're entitled to: the over-50s

1 April 2015

Are you struggling to make ends meet? You'll be surprised at the financial support on offer in the lead-up to retirement and beyond.

According to older people's charity, Age UK, nearly three million people over 65 are struggling financially, while government figures show that 1.9 million pensioners are on a low income. 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 £3.3 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, adds: “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 – but some are available to people as young as 50-years-old.

Here is an overview of what you can claim in your 50s.

Benefits in your 50s

With people in the UK living longer than ever before and the state pension age rising, most people are expected to have many years of work in front of them when they turn 50.

However, the government is concerned about the number of people in their 50s who are unemployed and find it hard to seek work.  The unemployment rate for those aged 50 to 64 is now lower than the population as a whole, at 3% compared with 4.2% overall, according to the latest Labour Force survey, but there is evidence that those who lose their jobs later in life find it harder to find employment again.

There is some help for over 50s to get into work, with Job Centres sometimes offering specific advice for over 50s, including IT training, while older people are also eligible for the apprenticeship schemes and the New Enterprise Allowance for starting up their own businesses, subject to eligibility.

While you are in your 50s, you are also still eligible to claim jobseeker's allowance if you are looking for work. After you reach state pension age, this benefit is no longer available.

Jobseeker's Allowance

What is it?

Jobseeker's allowance (JSA) is a benefit for those who could work but who currently aren't and are looking for a job. The maximum amount you can get under JSA is £57.90 per week if you are under 25, £73.10 if you are 25 or over or £114.85 per week if you’re a couple both aged over 18.

How much might you get?

There are three different types of JSA, which we describe below. These rules apply to those living in England, Scotland or Wales – the eligibility rules are slightly different in Northern Ireland.

Income-based JSA, is means tested. You only get income-based JSA if your income and savings are low enough. If you have a partner they must either not be working, or working fewer than 24 hours a week, and you must be working for 16 hours a week or less. You must have £16,000 or less in savings. Income-based JSA is very variable, depending on savings, housing costs and other circumstances. It is calculated by comparing your income to an amount that the government considers enough to live on. You cannot receive income-based JSA and Universal Credit at the same time.

Contribution-based JSA, is not means tested, but is based on your Class 1 national insurance contributions. Contribution-based JSA is received for six months after becoming unemployed if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions.

New style JSA, works the same way as contribution-based JSA. It is available for those who can apply for the new universal credit. Currently this applies to single people living anywhere in England Wales or Scotland, or a couple or family living in an area where universal credit has been introduced.

Although you can get new style JSA at the same time as universal credit, it will be deducted from your universal credit payment.

Further information

  • Visit for a benefits calculator or call the freephone helpline on 0808 802 2000.
  • Contact for advice specifically aimed at older people or call the freephone number 0800 169 2081.




In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Unemployed hard finding a job got morgage only wife working

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Unemployed with morgagemfinding it hard to get a job my wife works 30 hrs a week

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have not worked for the last 5 years. I have been caring for parents for 5 mornings a week. I do not get any benefits because my partner works 39 hours and earns £14,000 a year. we struggle on this income and so I have been looking for a part time afternoon / evening work but havent got anything yet. what i think is unfair is that if I lived with my elderly parents then I could claim jsa and get some help to find work but when you live with a partner, they must totally financially support you and there is no help from anywhere. Do you think i could get carers allowance ? i do not think so because my parents are not claiming the middle rate of the carers element of DLA and so i think i cant claim it. also whilst i am invisible to the world of work, i am missing out on my yearly NI contributions to build up my state pension. So should i move into my parents house to enable me to make a claim for jsa so that i can catch up with ni contributions and not have a reduced state pension. Do i have to move away from my partner to get any government help?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am 59 soon to be 60 I work 27.5 hours a week I'm living in a flat private rent can I claim anything e.g. Council tax help with rent or working tax credits I have no savings

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Im i entitled to anything if im taking early retirrment this year. My husband is on esa. Would we b able to claim as a couple.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

i have been medically retired from my job for the last 2 years. i am 59 and widowed. i get pip are there any other non means tested benefits i can claim. thank you.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi I am over 50 I want so advice how I can claim Benfits

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

After living in Portugal for the last 11 years I have returned back to the Uk. I am 58 years of age. Would you be able to inform me what my entitlements are. I am not working at the moment but looking for a par time vacancy. My husband is 62 and does not work.Kind regards S. Coleman

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Please send me comparisons of best returns from various companies over next 5 10 and 2 yearsRegards

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

There are no real "benefits" for the over 50s shown on this page. Waste of time.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Does anyone ever answer these questions? ~What's the point in asking?

In reply to by Alrita Hyre (not verified)

Can you clime played 19 and halth

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Im 57 old old widow can I get over 50 benefit

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Im 55 single. can i take £11.500 pension in a tax free lump sum out without it affecting my benfits. I get pip and esa. I don't get housing benefit I own my house but I get council tax paid to me. Thanks

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am a widow and had to get a job three weeks after my husband died, so i could pay the bills, i work in a garden nursery which is very physical ,i have very bad asthma, so take rather a lot of time off,as i dont get paid sick pay i take it in holidays, i am worn out some days just to breath..But i need around 900 pounds to live, so i can not cut down my hours which are 33 hours a there any help i can get.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

my husband has a credit pension, but I can not afford to pay the rent of gas, electric we are also good for us. what benefit can I use thanks again.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I would like to retire at 60 could I claim any ste benefits

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm on the highest rates for both components of Pip im 54 my husband works but I can't can we claim any benefits

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I work part time 22+ hours a week, my wages are not enough to make ends meet. As am 57 & on minimum wage. I live with my daughter who works 1 day a week. Are there any benefits I can claim to help me live better.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have not a holiday 15 years or gone anywhere. Been so un well .now feeling bit well .wat to go somewhere but not working.

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