Pensioners miss out on thousands of pounds - payments, discounts and freebies you may get

By Rebekah Evans

Pensioners may not be aware of the various forms of support they may be entitled to, simply due to their age or financial status. As a result, it is worth checking, as some could be entitled to payments worth thousands of pounds. spoke exclusively to CEO and co-founder of Stipendium, Christina Melling, who shared the latest list of benefits and support available to those of pension age.

Over 80 pension
Ms Melling explained people can claim this pension if they are aged 80 or over, and do not get the basic state pension or have a sum less than £85.00 per week. It is not based on National Insurance contributions.

She added: “People must be resident in the UK for at least 10 years out of 20, and this 20-year period must include the day before you turned 80 or any day after.

“You must be ordinarily resident in the UK, the Isle of Man or Gibraltar on your 80th birthday or the date you made the claim for this pension, if later.”

Winter Fuel Payment
Britons born on or before September 25, 1956 could get between £250 and £600 for heating bill help this year, as the Government has said pensioners will get an extra £300 to support them during the cost of living crisis.

Most people will receive this payment automatically, but they must have also lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19 to 25, 2022 to be eligible.

Warm Home Discount
People who receive Pension Credit may be eligible for a £150 discount on their energy bills, Ms Melling explained.

Cold Weather Payment
Britons could get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between November and March. Those in receipt of the following payments could benefit: Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and Support for Mortgage Interest.

TV Licence
Those aged 75 and over who receive Pension Credit should get a free TV licence, eliminating the £159 per year colour licence cost.

Cost of Living Payment
People could be eligible for two payments of approximately £324 if they are in receipt of any of the following:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Income Support.
  • Pension Credit.
  • Universal Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit.

Ms Melling added: “You will need to have been awarded a claim for one of these benefits as of May 25, 2022 to get the payment. If you’re eligible you don’t need to apply.”

Free bus pass and transport concessions
Rules on eligibility can differ depending on where a person lives, with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London residents getting a free bus pass at 60.

People living elsewhere in many parts of England will have to wait until state pension age.

Some may still be entitled to a discount on public transport, so Ms Melling suggests looking on the official Government website for guidance.

Free prescriptions
At present, over 60s can get a free prescription in England, while in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the entitlement is free for all.

Funeral Expenses Payment
Bereaved individuals in receipt of certain benefits could be entitled to an expenses payment to help pay for the funeral they are arranging. The payment is deducted from any money a person gets from the deceased’s estate, but can help pay for costs such as burial fees, death certificates, and travel to attend the funeral.

Attendance Allowance
Ms Melling said: “This is a benefit for those over state pension age who need help with personal care or supervision because of either illness or disability, where over the past six months you have needed help.”

Council tax discounts
Ms Melling highlighted several forms of support which may be available for older people with their council tax bills.

Firstly, a single person’s discount for council tax can reduce their bill by 25 percent if they are the only person living in their home.

Next, those living in council tax bands A to D will be eligible for a £150 council tax rebate this year, with other support potentially available for those living in bands E to H.

Finally, the Second Adult Rebate/Alternative Maximum Council Tax Reduction, could offer assistance.

Ms Melling added: “Some councils may give you a discount on your council tax bill if you live with other adults on a low income. This will be automatically assessed when you apply for Council Tax Reduction. The council will assess your household’s circumstances to work out how much discount you are eligible for.”

Pension Credit
Recent DWP figures show an estimated £1.7billion in Pension Credit is being left unclaimed, and the benefit is available to support pensioners on a low income.

The DWP estimates Pension Credit could be worth some £3,300 per year, and may make a huge difference to those struggling with income in retirement.

Ms Melling said: “The numbers are quite frankly shocking, with a continuous theme of billions of benefits remaining unclaimed each year - a large chunk of money falling back into the Government’s pockets.

“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to check your benefit entitlement and claim what’s yours. The simplest way to check is by using a free benefits calculator. This easy-to-use online tool allows you to check your benefits entitlement, as well as other schemes and grants that may be available to you.”

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