Benefits and Your Money
Trying to maintain your home and pay all your bills can sometimes be challenging when you do not have a regular income, but there are a range of benefits you can claim that could help you.
Claiming What You CanThe two main types of benefit you can claim if you are over 60 are housing benefit and council tax. Housing benefit can help you with your rent if you are not in your own property, while council tax benefit can help to decrease your council tax bill.
It is estimated that between £3.5m and £5.1m of pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit goes unclaimed by the over 60s every year.
Both of these benefits are calculated by how big your savings are and if you have any income coming into the household. Your local authority will be the body that decides how much benefit you are entitled to.
If you receive the guarantee part of pension credit there is a good chance you will be able to receive full payment towards your rent and council tax bill.
Claiming Council TaxFor those people that are under 60 their council tax bill will be calculated by where they live, how much their property is worth and also who lives there, to some extent this is also true of people over 60, apart from there are a few exceptions.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to whether you are eligible for council tax benefit, If you are on a low income or no income at all, which a lot of people in retirement are, then you could qualify for the benefit.
If you are in retirement the chances are you have a pension, the bad news is that this will be classed as an income in the eyes of your local authority, along with any savings you have. If you have a large pension you may not qualify for council tax benefit.Once your local authority has worked out how much income you are receiving they will compare this to how much someone in your circumstances should be able to live on.
Supporting PeopleThe government has set up a special scheme for elderly people called Supporting People. This scheme will cover the cost of things such as alarm systems, cleaning and anything that falls outside of the remit of housing benefit.
It can benefit those in sheltered housing but the extra help can also mean the difference between you having to move to a care home or being able to stay in your own home. If you think you apply for this service you should contact your local authority who will come and carry out a care assessment report on you and your home.
Housing BenefitIf you need to pay rent you might be able to claim housing benefit. If you own your own property you will need to contact your local authority regarding pension credit. Pension credit can go towards paying your mortgage repayments if you still have some outstanding in retirement.
Accommodation benefit works in a similar way to council tax and can help go towards paying costs such as your rent.
One of the biggest costs of running a house in retirement will be your fuel bill. If you are responsible for paying your own fuel bills for things such as cooking, hot water and lighting you will be able to claim a fuel allowance.
Everybody over the age of 60 in the UK can receive an annual winter fuel payment.
For those aged 60 to 79, you can get either £125 or £250, depending on your circumstances. If you are over 80 you will be entitled to either £200 or £400, depending on your circumstances.
Reaching retirement does not necessarily mean you have to struggle by, there are a lot of benefits available to the over 60s, so make sure you take advantage of them.