It is important to realise that financial benefits are not all means-tested and related directly to your income and savings. Many are based on your individual National Insurance record and some are based on your personal circumstances, without any reference to your finances.
Maximising your income can make a real difference when you’re trying to manage your money and make sure you can pay all your bills.
This alphabetical guide to the main financial benefits available to those aged 55 and over provides further information about what you may be entitled to.
The main financial benefits available to those aged 55 and over
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme/War Pension
Paid for injuries, illnesses or death caused through serving in the armed forces. To claim, contact Veterans UK Helpline 0808 1914 218 or visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/veterans-uk
Armed Forces Independence Payment
Paid to people severely injured whilst serving in the armed forces in place of Personal Independence Payment. To claim, contact Veterans UK Helpline 0808 1914 218.
This is a tax-free benefit paid by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) to people aged 65 or over who need help with their personal care or have supervision needs. To claim, contact Attendance Allowance Helpline 0800 731 0122 or visit www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance
Paid for up to 52 weeks to people aged between 45 and retirement age when their spouse/civil partner dies. It is based on the spouse/civil partner’s National Insurance contributions. To claim, contact DWP Bereavement Service 0800 731 0469 or visit www.gov.uk/bereavement-allowance
A lump sum of £2,000 paid in similar circumstances to the Bereavement Allowance, and to widows/widowers over retirement age whose spouse did not receive a Category A State Pension. It is based on the spouse/civil partner’s National Insurance Contributions. To claim, contact DWP Bereavement Service 0800 731 0469 or visit www.gov.uk/bereavement-payment
For people of all ages who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a severely disabled person. It is not means-tested. An underlying right to it is available to those claiming a State Pension. To claim, contact Carers Allowance Unit 0800 731 0297 or visit www.gov.uk/carers-allowance
A non means-tested benefit available to those who do not qualify for Carers Allowance but who care for someone for at least 20 hours a week. It helps with gaps in a National Insurance record and protects entitlement to a state pension and other financial benefits. To claim, contact Carers Allowance Unit 0345 608 4321 or visit www.gov.uk/carers-credit
Council Tax Discount and Disability Reduction Scheme
People living on their own are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on their Council Tax liability, irrespective of the level of their income and/or savings. A disability reduction in the amount you pay is available if you or anybody living with you is substantially and permanently disabled, and you have enough space for that person to use a wheelchair indoors. To claim, contact your local authority.
Council Tax Support and Exceptional Hardship Payments
Council Tax Support is a means-tested benefit paid to people of all ages, whether in work or not who are on a low income, to help them pay the Council Tax on their property. An Exceptional Hardship Payment is paid to those who need extra help with their Council Tax. To claim either or both, contact your local authority.
Disability Living Allowance
No longer available to new claimants. If you were born after 8 April 1948 and you’re already claiming, you’ll continue to get DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to tell you when your DLA will end and invites you to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Helpline 0800 121 4600
Existing DLA claimants born on or before 8 April 1948 can continue to have their award reassessed under DLA rules as their needs change. Contact helpline 0800 731 0122.
Discretionary Housing Payment
A payment made by the local authority to people in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (that includes the housing costs element) who need extra help with their housing costs. To claim, contact your local authority.
Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
This is paid by the DWP to people of working age who are not fit for work and who have a proven limited capacity for work. If you do not have sufficient National Insurance contributions to claim contribution-based ESA, you can claim income-related ESA which is means-tested, based on your circumstances. Sometimes, if you undertake certain specific permitted work, you may still be entitled to ESA to top up a low income. To claim contact Jobcentre Plus Helpline 0800 055 6688 or visit www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance
A means-tested benefit, paid to people of all ages, whether in work or not, who are on a low income, to help them pay their rent and eligible service charges. To claim, contact your local authority.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)
A non means-tested benefit paid by the DWP to people who have been disabled as a result of an accident at work or contracted a disease caused by their job. To claim, contact Barnsley IIDB Centre 0800 121 8379 or visit www.gov.uk/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit