Benefits you're entitled to: over-65s

27 February 2020

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.

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According to older people's charity, Age UK, nearly a million older people are just one big bill away from financial disaster, and two million pensioners are living in poverty.

That’s one in six. Despite this, the benefits targeted at older people are the most likely to go unclaimed.

Analysis of the most recent Government figures by another charity, Independent Age, found up to 1.3 million households are not claiming one of the most important benefits for the retired – pension credit.

Pension credit is an income-related benefit made up of two parts - guarantee credit and savings credit.

Guarantee credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £167.25 (for single people) or £255.25 (for couples). You may still be eligible if you have savings, a pension or your own home.

Savings credit is extra money if you've got some savings or your income is higher than the basic state pension. It's only available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. You could get up to £13.73 extra per week if you're single or £15.35 if you're a couple.

Up to £3.5 billion in pension credit is left unclaimed every year – on average a significant £2,692 per family that could go towards essential bills.

According to Independent Age’s analysis, those missing out include 670,000 single women, at least 410,000 couples and up to 280,000 single men. 

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.”

You may be able to claim guarantee credit if you reached state pension age. You have to have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 to claim the savings credit part of pension credit.

If you’re a couple and one of you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, you may be able to claim. Government changes to pension credit last year could affect your entitlement, however. 

Since 15 May 2019, mixed age couples –  where one party of the couple is over pension credit qualifying age and the other under that age – are no longer be able to choose whether they claim universal credit or pension credit or pension age housing benefit. 

Both parties of a couple will have to reach the pension credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to pension credit and/or pension age housing benefit. 

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

Benefits for the over-65s

Attendance allowance

If you are over 65 and need care, you may be eligible for attendance allowance.

This is paid at two rates depending on how often you need care. The lower rate is £58.70 a week. You get this if you need frequent care throughout the day or night. The higher rate is £87.65 a week. You get this if you need frequent care throughout the day and night or if you are terminally ill.

You must normally have been ill for six months (unless you are terminally ill) before you can get attendance allowance. 

To claim you must be both physically or mentally disabled, in receipt of the state pension, or older than the current state pension age.

Other benefits you get can increase if you get Attendance Allowance.

You do not have to have someone caring for you in order to claim. Phone the attendance allowance helpline for a claim form on 0800 731 0122.

Annual flu jab

The flu jab is free every winter once you reach the age of 65. You don't need a GP referral for free flu jabs in pharmacies and the injections are usually available between September and February.

Over 75s

For a long time, all over-75s have been eligible for a free TV licence. You must apply for this, it is not automatic. You'll need to provide your date of birth, address, current

TV licence number and your national insurance number (or a photocopy of your passport, driving licence or birth certificate). If you share your house with someone younger than 75, you can still apply for a free licence but it must be in your name. 

Be aware, however, the rules are changing. The free over 75 TV Licence will cover you as well as anyone you live with up until 31 May 2020. Then the government funded, free over 75 TV Licence scheme is being replaced, on 1 June 2020.  

Under the new scheme, only households with someone aged 75 or over who is receiving pension credit will be eligible to apply for a free TV Licence, paid for by the BBC.

An application must be made in the name of the person receiving pension credit. 

If you are not receiving pension credit in your name – or in your partner’s name if you are a couple – you will need to pay for your next TV Licence.

If you’re already 75, or will turn 75 before 1 June 2020, you can apply for a free TV Licence to cover you up until 31 May.

The website at tvlicensing.co.uk has more details.

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.

Independent Age offers support to older people to allow them to remain living life on their own terms. Contact the charity at www.independentage.org or via the helpline on 0800 319 6789.

This article has been updated and was originally published on 1st April 2015.

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

BENEFITS YOU'RE ENTITLED TO: THE OVER-60S

BENEFITS YOU'RE ENTITLED TO: STATE PENSION AGE

First published on 1 April 2015

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi I am 65 on 6.8.2018..can I claim for heating money please

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

hi there can you please tell me it states my wife and i are state pension i was told by housing we are not getting the right money our income is less then the appllcable amount the goverment states i apply for pension credit and was turned down is this right many thanks mr d . philpott

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I was supposed to be eligible for the warmhome allowance from my energy supplier who then ceased trading another supplier took over and i never heard a thing i never use my heating as i cant afford it so those people that say that pensioners should be stopped certain benefits really need to look at the real world i worked for 50 years in the building trade and paid all my national insurance and tax so i think i did more than enough

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I'm am 65 in May but do not get my pension till November 19 I receive income support and careers allowance for my wife who is getting personal independent payment how will my income be affected when I receive my old age pension in November 2019.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

. I receive half my late husbands police pension

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

For the last 2 years I have been having bowl problems among other problems that I attend hospital appointments for but the last few months I have had acute diorama and most days I am scared to move out in-case I have a miss hap. I have to take a set of clothing with me if I have to go out . I work 7.5 hrs a week but if I get up and it flairs up I cant go out some times this can go on for a couple of weeks. this is why I am looking for help with my finances.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I will have my 65th Birthday in May 2019 but won’t receive my pension until January 2020.Can I claim Attendance Allowance in May or do I have to wait until the January?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am 70 and still fit and able. I work for a care company but only get given about average 10 hours a week. I get my state pension and have done since I was 60. My husband works for the council on the bin lorries but doesn't bring home enough money for us to live on. Am I entitled to get any money from the Government.

In reply to by derek philpott (not verified)

im 65 and dont get anything benefit wise my wifes a pensioner but I get nothing we both saved in the army and worked all our lifes and now were struggling its a unfare country as people can come here in a boat and get benifits and housing just so unjust.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I find it scandalous that someone who has worked as long as they could, then retired due to disability is penalized from getting any support and assistance because he was stupid enough to make savings for funerals and problems.i have paid all my taxes and ni contributions but any assistance apart from pips.it is amazing how the government can throw money and housing to people who have never made a contribution to the country, to drinkers and smokers that claim they have no money.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The wife and I are pensioners and we get housing and council tax benefits are we entitled to free dental treatment.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thank you also I retire end of this month who do I contact to find out what benefits am entitled to

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I will reach 65 next 26/06/2018 and start receiving my state pension. Currently I am receiving jobseekers allowance which will cease on 26/06/2018. I currently receive the maximum council benefits for housing and rates.What will be my new position on both council benefits at 65 please, and are there any other benefits available at 65 that I am not currently receiving.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Very useful. Needs to be in a leaflet form for distribution via GP Surgery, Care Homes, Hospitals, Social Services, pharmacies, Insurance companies, holiday mags etc. Could be self funding as this information isn't available and advertisers could save considerably. Could be distributed via internet. Keep it simple and in sections which could be updated regularly. Discount coupons could help. Short informative articles from readers with tips. It might just help people to find areas where help is available and local info could be supplemented via supermarket and shop information boards and swap clubs. Most important that LOCAL people be involved so that they can 'OWN' the product and participate.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I just. Wanted to no if I will have to pay counsil tax and I already pay bedroom tax I'm currently on pip high rate but my doctor signed and dated a document that. Said I am mentally impaired I thought that would make me void of paying I struggle now paying bedroom tax of £55 each two weeks

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have recently had to acclaim Pip as my disability living allowance is ending at the end of the year as I was told I will be put onto Pip and my benefit would be a lot more than what I would be getting after the assessment that I was given I was told within 6 weeks I would find out what I would be getting after a few weeks I received the letter telling me that I was getting £58.70 per week a week or two later after the letter I was told by a few other people pensioners of my own age don't forget to apply for your pension credits I did I got on the phone filled all the forms in online with the woman over the telephone then I was told that I would be entitled to benefits and if I'm correct I was told there would be getting £60.70 per week if this is correct then all I can say is thank you to your webpage I was given a lot more information that I already knew now as I would say I'm a lot better off will be whoopee now I'm still claiming housing benefit bus passes and everything else to have been entitled to that I never knew anything about so according to your page thank you very much very much appreciated

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I stay with my son in england .but have half share of property in spain worth 100 k I have 329 per month pension . I am 74 . Can I claim. Any extra money

In reply to by Lynn Houghton (not verified)

My wife and i are over 65 we own our house which was left to us a few years ago but we don't have any money for repairs which have steadily got wores over the years We have been without hot water and heating for years the house is falling around us what can we do HELP

In reply to by Lynn Houghton (not verified)

I get housing benifit can i claim warm housing from suppliers

In reply to by Archie Mcewan (not verified)

You can take a secure loan out on house to pay for all the work need doing or take a small remortgage out for the work.. life’s to short to live without essentials..Or sell house and buy a smaller house done up .. problem solved.. go to citizens advice for more help

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