There is a range of benefits available to older or disabled people, or those that need help with care. Some are means tested, while others are available to anyone who meets specific criteria.
You might qualify for financial help, depending on your circumstances. The main benefits and allowances are described in separate articles:
- Attendance allowance
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
- Constant attendance allowance (CAA)
- State pension
- Pension credit
In addition, you might be eligible for the following financial help:
- Christmas bonus: a one-off tax-free £10 payment (2018-19) made before Christmas to people who get certain benefits, such as state pension or PIP, in the qualifying week.
- Council tax reduction: money off your council tax if you are on a low income or claim benefits, or a 25% discount for people living alone.
- Help with health costs: everyone aged 60 years or over is entitled to free prescriptions and eye tests. If you have a low income or get certain benefits, such as the guarantee credit part of pension credit, you might also be entitled to free dental treatment, glasses and the cost of travel to hospital.
- Help with travel: bus passes or a Blue Badge, for example. Most towns also have their own dial-a-ride scheme for people who find it difficult to get out and about on public transport. See your local Age UK or Yellow Pages for details of schemes in your area, and see also What are the alternatives to driving?.
- Housing benefit: available to people on low incomes who rent their home. For more information, see this page of the GOV.UK website.
- War widow(er) pension: you might be entitled to this if your partner died before 6 April 2005 as a result of their service in the armed forces or during a time of war.
- Winter fuel payment: for people born on or before 5 May 1953 a tax-free annual payment of £200 if you are under 80 and £300 if you are over 80 is available to help with fuel costs. People in receipt of a state pension or other relevant benefits will receive the payment automatically, while others who are eligible will need to apply. Click here for more information from GOV.UK about Winter fuel payments.
If your circumstances change, you must notify the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) immediately as this could affect the benefits you're entitled to.
If you're unsure which benefits you might be entitled to, there are various online benefits calculators designed to help. You will be asked a number of questions about your personal circumstances, then offered guidance on which benefits you might be eligible for.
- Accessing local authority care and support: find out how to organise a needs assessment - the first step towards getting local authority support for an older person.
- Financing care at home: read our explanation about home care funding options.
- Benefits for carers: if you spend more than a certain number of hours a week caring for a relative or friend, you may be eligible for government support.
Page last reviewed: April 2018