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Benefits for older people

There is a range of benefits available in later life, including Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Winter Fuel Payments and more.
4 min read
In this article
What benefits and pensions are available from the government? What other financial help is available for older people? The benefits system
Benefits calculator

What benefits and pensions are available from the government?

 

You might qualify for financial help, depending on your circumstances. The main benefits and pensions available from the government are described in separate articles:

 

What other financial help is available for older people?

 

In addition to the main benefits outlined above, you might be eligible for the following financial help.

 

Winter Fuel Payment

 

If you were born on or before 5 November 1953 and lived in the UK for one day during the week of 17–23 September 2018, a tax-free annual payment is available to help with fuel costs.

£200

if you’re under 80 years old.

 

£300

if you’re over 80 years old.

If you receive a State Pension, you’ll receive the payment automatically, but if you don’t receive the payments and are still eligible, you’ll need to apply.

 

Visit gov.uk for more information about Winter Fuel Payment.

 

Christmas Bonus

 

This is a one-off tax-free £10 payment (2018–19) that you receive before Christmas if you get certain benefits, such as State Pension or PIP, in the qualifying week. You should get paid automatically, so there’s no need to claim.

 

Council Tax reduction 

 

You're eligible to receive money off your Council Tax if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. If you live alone, you’re entitled to a 25% discount.

 

What discount you get depends on the scheme your local authority runs: every council has its own scheme. Your circumstances and household makeup and income will also be taken into account. To find out more, you will need to get in touch with your local authority.

This reduction isn’t available in Northern Ireland, where there is a separate scheme.

 

Help with travel

 

Examples of help with travel include bus passes or a Blue Badge. In England, you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the female State Pension age, whether you’re a man or a woman. If you haven’t yet reach State Pension age, use the Which? Money State Pension eligibility calculator to establish when you’ll become eligible for a bus pass.

 

If you live in London, you can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport when you reach the age of 60, but only within London. In Wales, you can get a bus pass when you reach the age of 60.

 

Most towns also have their own dial-a-ride scheme available if you find it difficult to use public transport. See your local Age UK or Yell.com for details of schemes in your area, and read what are the alternatives to driving? for more information.

 

To apply for a bus pass, got to this page on gov.uk.

 

Help with health costs 

 

If you’re aged 60 or over, you’re 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.

 

Housing Benefit

 

Available if you’re on low income and rent your home. Visit gov.uk for more information on Housing Benefit.

 

War Widow(er) Pension 

 

You might be entitled to this if your wife, husband or civil partner died before 6 April 2005 as a result of their service in the armed forces or during a time of war.

 

TV licence

 

If you’re aged 75 or over or your household includes someone aged over 75, then you’re entitled to a free TV licence. The licence needs to be applied for and you’ll need your National Insurance number, but if you don’t have it, you’ll need another way to prove your age, such as your passport or driving licence. The licence will be automatically renewed each year. To find out more, go to the TV licensing website.

 

The benefits system

  • Change of circumstances: if your circumstances change, you must notify gov.uk immediately as this could affect the benefits you’re entitled to. To find out more about what changes need to be reported, see this page on gov.uk.
  • Benefit cap: there’s a limit to the total amount of benefits you can get if you’re aged 16 to 64. Visit gov.uk for more information on the benefit cap.

 

Benefits calculator

 

If you’re unsure which benefits you might be entitled to, use an online benefits calculator, such as this one at Turn2us. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your personal circumstances, then offered guidance on which benefits you might be eligible for.

Further reading

Attendance Allowance

Read about Attendance Allowance and the payment rates, plus tips on applying and completing the form.

State Pension

Find out about the State Pension, including information on State Pension age and how much you’ll receive.

Last updated: 20 Nov 2018