Do you know what benefits you – or your loved one – is entitled to? This is a complex area and one that many of our clients and older people struggle with, so we thought it would be helpful to compile a guide to help you navigate this topic and related issues.
State Pension age
State pension age is the earliest age at which you can get your pension. This is currently under review. In November 2018 you had to reach the age of 65 before you could get your State Pension. It’s now gradually increasing. You can check when you’ll receive your pension here.
This helps you top up your pension if you’re struggling financially, and it comes in two parts.
Part one – called the Guarantee Credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £173.75 if you’re single or £265.20 if you’re married.
Part two – called Savings Credit – is only available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. This is extra money which you may be able to get if you’ve got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. You could get up to £13.97 extra per week if you’re single or £15.62 if you’re married.
If you’re able to claim the Pension Credit, this opens up many more benefits for you as well:
- Council Tax – this may be waved entirely if you live alone
- NHS dental treatment – FREE
- Claim towards the extra costs of glasses and travel to hospital
- Cold Weather Payment – if it’s 0°C or below for seven days in a row, you’ll get £25
- Housing Benefit – do you rent your home? You may get your rent paid in full
- Mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges – if you own your home, you may be
eligible for help with these
- Carer Premium or Carer Addition – if you’re a carer, you may get up to £36.85 a week
- FREE TV licence – if you’re over 75
It’s worth noting that you can’t get Income Support when you’re over State Pension age, but that income from Pension Credit is tax-free.
To find out if you can claim Pension Credit you can call 0800 99 1234. Each year, £3.5bn of Pension Credit and Housing Benefit is unclaimed, so it’s well worth phoning to see if you can claim.
You may be able to claim Council Tax support – just check with your local council. It doesn’t matter whether you own your home or rent.
Housing Benefit can help you cover your rent if you’re on a low income.
If you are not claiming other benefits, apply through your local council. If you get Pension Credit you can contact the Pension Service about this.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
PIP is a benefit for people with long-term illness or disability who need help with daily activities of getting around. There are two components to this – daily living and mobility. If you’re over State Pension age then you can claim Attendance Allowance instead. This is for people who need help with personal care costs, or supervision due to illness or disability.
You can claim Attendance Allowance if you need support with getting washed or dressed, if you need supervision overnight or if you have any type of illness. Disabled people can also claim this benefit.
Everyone aged over 60 gets free prescriptions. Just ask your GP for the FP92A form. You can also get free NHS sight tests and could also get support with the cost of glasses or contact lenses, NHS wigs and fabric supports or travel to NHS treatment.
Confused about benefits?
Age UK offers a free advice line from 8 am – 7pm every day of the year. If you’d like to ask any questions about benefits, or if you have any worries about what you may be entitled to, please call them on 0800 055 6112.
Paying for care costs or care services
If you don’t want to move into a care home and can still get about your home, you may want to consider care at home. This is particularly useful if you’re finding it hard to cope with your daily routine – including washing, dressing and getting out and about. We offer a Free Home Care Advisory Service so if you have any questions on this please do get in touch.
If you are having a financial crisis you may be able to ask for assistance from your local council. This could be a cash grant, goods, services or vouchers.
Blue Badges help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. If you’d like to find out more, please speak to your local council.
Have you made a will yet?
While we’re talking about all things financial, if you’ve not already made a will we’d encourage you to consider it. Making a will can be straightforward and will save your loved ones much distress at a difficult time. March 2021 is Free Wills Month – find out more here. Free Will Month is backed by a range of charities, so don’t be surprised if the solicitor you use asks if you’d like to leave a bequest to a charity. You don’t need to say yes to this question, but you may want to consider it.
Beware of scams
Whether they come to your door, post you something, phone you or send an email, scammers target older people to try and get their hands on your money. Age UK has a fantastic guide to scams on their website which we recommend you read.
Here at Great Park Homecare, we’re here to help you improve your experience of ageing and infirmity.
Do we serve your area?
Areas we serve are Windsor, Old Windsor, Ascot and surrounding areas including Bray, Datchet, Dorney, Englefield Green, Eton, Eton Wick, Great Park, Winkfield and Windsor.
Would you like to find out more?
If you would like to find out more about our home care services or benefit from our Free Home Care Advisory Service, please contact us