Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes
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In the face of a dismal 3.1 percent state pension raise, it’s never been more important for pensioners to understand just what they should be receiving from the state to stay afloat. There are an array of benefits available to the elderly, but many of which go unclaimed by those rightfully entitled to them, with billions going unclaimed every year.
Age UK shared the six most helpful yet commonly unclaimed benefits that help pensioners pay their bills.
Heating benefit or winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free payment to assist with heating costs, generally made between November and December to help with the chilly winter months.
The benefit can offer up to £300 and to be eligible pensioners must be born on or before September 26 1955 and living in the UK during the qualifying week for each financial year, which is generally the 20 to 26 of September.
Those looking to claim must also be receiving state pension and another social security benefit which does not include housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit, universal credit or deferred state pension.
Housing benefit is a means-tested benefit which complicates the eligibility requirements slightly but those that claim the guarantee credit part of pension credit could get their rent paid in full.
Ultimately housing benefit is available to help those on low income, such as those relying on state pension, to cover their rent.
The benefit takes into account one’s savings, who they live with, their rental expenses and how many rooms are in their home.
Council tax support
Council tax support, also known as council tax reduction, can differ in amount and eligibility depending on where one is in the country.
This benefit pays in full or in part one’s council tax bills and anyone can claim regardless of whether they rent or own the home they are staying in.
It is advised that those looking to claim this benefit should contact their local council to find out what the requirements are and how to apply.
There are also an array of transport concessions available to pensioners, most namely the older person’s bus pass, the senior rail card and London Freedom Pass.
All of these benefits cover the costs, or offer discounted rates of travel on the various modes of transport.
The senior railcard is available to everyone over the age of 60 with the London Freedom Pass eligibility age being slightly higher at 66.
TV licence concessions
Having a TV licence is a modern day necessity and can be paid monthly or quarterly, and while it used to be free for those over the age of 75 recent amendments have seen these pensioners receiving information about different payment options.
However, there are still some ways pensioners can claim their free licence, if they fit the eligibility criteria:
They are over the age of 75 and receive pension credit, the 100 percent free licence will cover the pensioner and anyone living with them regardless of their age.
They are blind or have severe sight-impairment in which case they can claim a 50 percent discount.
Living in a care home or sheltered house can see pensioners eligible for Accommodation for Residential Care licences which costs £7.50 for any TV being watched in their private accommodation.
A budgeting loan is an advanced payment of one’s benefits in the case of an expensive emergency with pensioners able to claim up to £800.
To be eligible, one must be receiving either pension credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance or employment and support allowance.
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