State Pension and benefits
State Pension and benefits
If you're approaching retirement and will soon be relying on the State Pension and any other pension funds you may have built up during your working life, the issue of benefits is very important.
Whether you received benefits while you were working, think you might see your income levels drop in retirement to a level where you are eligible for certain benefits, or are wondering which benefits are only available to the aged, here's everything you need to know.
The State Pension is itself a benefit, paid depending on how much you've paid in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and your date of birth. To find out more about the State Pension, how much it's worth and who is applicable, click here to read our in-depth guide.
Over 80 Pension
If you don't receive State Pension or it's worth less than £73.30 a week (2017-18), and are over 80 years of age, you can receive a top up from the government so you receive the full £73.30. You must have lived in the UK for ten out of the previous 20 years (including the days either side of your 80th birthday), and be "ordinarily resident" in the UK, European Economic Area, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Isle of Man or Channel Islands on your 80th birthday (or the date you claim the pension, if later).
Pension Credit is comprised of two entitlements. Firstly, if you've passed State Pension age and you're either single with a weekly income below £155.60* or have a partner and your joint weekly income is lower than £237.55*, then you can claim Guarantee Credit, boosting your income to these levels (you may get more if you're disabled, are a carer or have to pay housing costs, such as a mortgage).
You can also receive Savings Credit if you or your partner live in Northern Ireland, reached State Pension age before April 6 2016, have an income lower than £137.35 (single) or £218.42* (if you have a partner) and have paid into a second retirement pot or savings account. If you're eligible, you can receive up to an extra £13.20 a week if you're single, or £14.90* if you have a partner.
There is also a raft of smaller benefits you can claim after you've reached State Pension age.
- Winter Fuel Payment
If you've reached State Pension age by the third week of September, you can receive a payment up to £200 to cover winter fuel costs. If a household includes someone aged 80 or older, it'll receive an extra £100 on top.
- Cold Weather Payment
In periods of particularly cold weather (when the average daily temperature is recorded or forecast as being 0°C or less for seven days in a row), people receiving the State Pension are automatically paid £25 a week
- Housing and Council Tax Benefits
If you need help paying rent or are unable to pay the entirety of your Council Tax bill, you can receive money from the government to ensure you do not experience hardship. As both of these payments are being rolled into Universal Credit, your area may no longer receive them.
- Attendance and Carer's Allowances
If you have an illness or disability, have a carer, or care for someone who is severely disabled, you or your carer may be able to claim either Attendance Allowance or Carer's Allowance to cover costs and improve your quality of life.
- War Widow/Widower's Pension
If your partner died as a result of war service or they received a War Pension, you can claim this pension for yourself, tax free.
- Health costs
People aged 60 or over can receive free health check-ups and tests, covering things such as eye tests, dental operations and so on.
- Bus passes
Once you reach the age of 60, you can receive a bus pass that entitles you to free travel on certain public transport networks.
The amount you can receive depends largely on your personal situation and finances, so it's important to enquire with the Pension Service to find out the exact amount you can receive.
*Figures for 2017/18
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