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Extra Help For Pensioners

In the past year the government has introduced a number of measures designed to help the increasingly larger population of pensioners. With the cost of living rising rapidly many are finding out that the pension that they have worked so hard to save is just not enough to allow them to live comfortably in their retirement. Many, however, could claim some of the new benefits that would make their lives a lot more comfortable. The three main types of benefit are as follows:

Pension Credit

There are two elements of pension credit, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Guarantee Credit can be claimed by pensioners who are 60 or over and can increase the income of the basic state pension by around forty pounds and can be more in certain circumstances. It is not necessary to have paid National Insurance contributions to qualify but your income and any savings and capital over a certain level are taken into account. Savings Credit can be claimed by pensioners who are 65 or over, and goes a step further for those who have made moderate savings for retirement.

Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit

One of the major drains on people's pensions is their council tax. Council Tax Benefit isn't very well known and is one of the major benefits that pensioners miss out on. It can be claimed by homeowners as well as tenants and the value of the home is not taken into account. Housing Benefit helps with rent and certain service charges and these benefits are based on your income and savings and other factors, such as the number of people in your family, whether you are disabled, and the level of your rent and council tax may affect the amount.

Recent figures have suggested that up to 1.4m older people are currently missing out on the Council Tax Benefit, resulting in up to 580m pounds remaining in unclaimed benefits each year, this has been averaged out to suggest that individuals are missing out on an average of 390 pounds a year. Whilst almost 270,000 eligible older people are not claiming Housing Benefit, resulting in upto 400m pounds remaining unclaimed.

Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance

People over the age of 65 who are physically or mentally ill or disabled can get extra cash to help with the extra costs of disability. It is intended for those who need help with personal care, but the individual gets the choice of how to spend it. Attendance Allowance is not related to income or savings and is paid at two different rates:41.25 pounds if you need help in the day or night and 62.25 pounds if you need help during both. There is no upper age limit but if you are under 65, you should apply for Disability Living Allowance instead - this can provide extra money for people with care and/or mobility needs.

In the current economic conditions the basic state pension often does not provide enough support for pensioners to live on, and whilst the government offers other benefits it is recommended that individuals have their own private pensions. Many of these can be found through their employers, but it is also worth looking at private pensions provided by specialists such as Legal and General as they may well offer you the best return for your hard earned money when it comes to your retirement.



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