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Perks and benefits of being retired

By Paul Davies

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Perks and benefits of being retired

Which? helps you to identify the benefits, allowances and perks you might be entitled to in retirement.

Over a million pensioners are failing to claim the benefits they’re entitled to, according to the Government. And with longevity increasing, it’s important to make the most of your income. Which? shows you what benefits you can claim now you’re retired. 

1. State benefits

Various benefit payments and ways to boost your retirement income are available from the Government - but you have to remember to claim them, as millions of UK consumers fail to do so, missing out on valuable income. 

Some of these benefits are means-tested and others are universal. For more on how the Government helps fund your pension, visit our guide, your state pension and benefits.

Pension credit

This tops up the state pension for people who are on a low income. Guarantee credit tops your weekly income up to £159.35 if you’re single and £243.25 for a couple. 

Savings credit, which will disappear for those qualifying for the state pension on or after 6 April 2016, provides £13.20 for a single person and £14.90 for a couple per week. You can apply by calling the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.

Council tax benefit

If your savings are below £16,000 or you’re on a low income you’ll be eligible for council tax benefit. The most you can get is a 100% reduction, so it’s well worth applying for. For more on how council tax works, visit our guide to Council tax.

Winter fuel payment 

You can get up to £200 if you were born on or before 5 May 1953, and up to £300 if you’re aged 80 or over.

Cold weather payment 

These are £25 payments for each seven-day period of very cold weather between November and March. You’ll be eligible for it if you claim any other income-related benefits.

Free prescriptions and eye tests for over-60s

You’ll also be entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you’re receiving pension guarantee credit.

Disability Living Allowance

You can get up to £141.10 a week to help with the extra costs caused by a disability, with Personal Independence Payments.

Free bus pass

If you’re born before 6 April 1950 you’ll get a free bus pass at age 60. The age at which you can claim increases broadly in line with female state pension age increases.

Senior railcard

These give you a third off train fares for £30 a year.

Benefits for carers

If you spend more than a certain amount of hours per week caring for a relative or friend, you could be entitled to government benefits. Read more about benefits for carers.

Visit Which? Elderly Care to read more on benefits and allowances for the elderly.

2. Other benefits

It's not just the government that makes provisions for helping pensioners make their money go further. Some types of business, such as restaurants, cinemas and theatres also offer discounts for people over 60 or 65. Even if you can't see anything advertised, it's always worth asking if someone offers a senior discount.

  • Dining discounts. If you’re aged 50 or over you can get discounts on meals in pubs and carveries with the Diamond Club.
  • Cheap cinema tickets. Odeon, Vue and Empire offer cheaper cinema tickets to pensioners. Vue offers Seniors Club screenings, which includes a free cup of tea and a biscuit, and Odeon offers free hot drinks and discounted tickets at Silver Cinema showings.
  • Money off museum visits. Most museums offer concessions for senior citizens – English Heritage and National Trust both offer reduced memberships, too.
  • Help around the house. Age UK’s free Handy Van scheme is for over-60s with less than £20,000 in savings. It installs security systems and fits smoke alarms, to make you feel safer.
  • 25% off glasses at Specsavers from Monday to Friday, on selected ranges for over 60s.

We regularly include news, features and guidance about retirement in Which? Money magazine. If you'd like to access these, as well as our expert investigations on savings, tax, investments and more, try Which? Money for two months for £1.

  • Last updated: April 2017
  • Updated by: Paul Davies

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