Every year, a staggering £5.5bn of benefits goes unclaimed by older people and as many as 72% of older people who have claimed benefits say it’s improved their lives according to Age UK.1
Imagine what a bit more money could mean for you. It could help with shopping, paying the bills or being able to get out and about. Here’s how to make sure you, or a parent or grandparent, aren’t missing out.
There are three key benefits that go unclaimed – Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. Here’s how they work and the financial difference they could make to you.
Around four million people are entitled to Pension Credit but a third of these aren’t claiming2, leaving around £2.8bn unclaimed each year1. While the amount received depends on your income and retirement savings, Age UK calculates that if everyone claimed their entitlement, it could boost their annual income by an average of £1,7163.
Pension Credit is made up of two parts – the first is a guarantee credit, which tops up your weekly income to £148.35 for single people or £226.50 for couples. The second part is a savings credit for people who have saved towards their retirement4. This savings element is worth up to £16.80 per week for single people or £20.70 for couples, but may not be available to people who reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
Just over £1bn worth of Housing Benefit goes unclaimed each year1, equivalent to an average of £2,444 a year for the pensioners who miss out.
Housing Benefit can help towards your rent, depending on your income and savings. Usually if you have more than £16,000 of savings you won’t qualify, unless you receive the guarantee part of Pension Credit5.
Council Tax Reduction
More than two million older people didn’t claim their entitlement – this is equivalent to an average of £728 a year for those who didn’t claim1.
If you’re on a low income, your council may be able to help you with your Council Tax bill through its Council Tax Reduction or Council Tax Support scheme. This could give you a reduction of up to 100% on your bill, depending on your individual circumstances6.
Although Council Tax Reduction was only introduced last year (replacing the Council Tax Benefit on 1 April 2013), an almighty £1.69bn worth of its predecessor, Council Tax Benefit, went unclaimed each year1.
Where to get help
It’s simple to find out whether you, or your parents or grandparents, are missing out.
Support from Foresters
Members of Foresters Friendly Society may also be able to access financial assistance as Foresters offers a range of discretionary grants that can help with the cost of optical and dental care or in times of hardship. Find out more about the Foresters Extras range of member benefits here.
The membership benefits Foresters provides are not regulated and are regularly reviewed to ensure they are always relevant to Foresters members.
This article is intended to provide information, not financial advice. Foresters Friendly Society do not offer advice. You should contact a financial adviser if you want financial advice to help you decide which the most suitable option is for you. They may charge you a fee for this advice. Tax rules might change in the future and depend on individual circumstances.
You can find out more about Foresters Friendly Society on their website: www.forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk