Categories
Coupons & Offers

15 pension benefits worth thousands you could be missing including council tax discount

Pensioners could be missing out on thousands of pounds worth of perks, including council tax reductions and help paying energy bills.
You could also be entitled to a free TV licence and extra benefits on top of your State Pension.
The current State Pen…

Pensioners could be missing out on thousands of pounds worth of perks, including council tax reductions and help paying energy bills. You could also be entitled to a free TV licence and extra benefits on top of your State Pension. The current State Pension age is 66 but this is gradually increasing and will reach 67 by 2028.

A further rise to 68 is due to be phased in between 2044 and 2046 although an exact timetable has yet to be confirmed. If you're nearing retirement, we round up 15 perks you could be entitled to. This isn't a definitive list, so there may be more benefits you could be able to claim on top of the below - speak to a charity like Age UK or Citizens Advice to see what else you could get.

(C) Getty Images/iStockphoto Thousands of pensioners could be missing out on key benefits

Becky O'Connor, head of pensions and savings at Interactive Investor, said: "Retirement is a time in your life when you definitely don't want to be missing out on any freebies, benefits or special deals - you'll want to make your limited income stretch as far as possible.

"Pension credit, for example, is a vastly under-claimed benefit. Before you shell out for anything, stop and think: 'could there be some help for me with this that I don't already know about?' The chances are, there probably is."

Claim back lost pensions

If you changed jobs a lot throughout your working life, it's possible you may have lost track of some of your pension pots. In fact, new research from the government shows GBP880million worth of pensions and insurance policies are going unclaimed by UK households.

The first step is to check in with your old employer who should be able to give you the contact details of the pension provider you were signed up to. But if you're really stuck, there is a free Gov.uk Pension Tracing Service that will help you track down relevant contact details. They won't be able to tell you whether you have a pension or what its value is - again, you'll need to contact the companies yourself - but it is a good starting point.

(C) Getty Images Grandparents could earn National Insurance contributions for looking after their grandkids

Check if you can get Pension Credit

Millions of pensioners are thought to be missing out on Pension Credit each year, which is a benefit that tops up your income if you're on a low income.

Pension Credit comes in two parts. The Guaranteed Credit element tops up your income to a basic level and you may get extra amounts on top of this, depending on your income. Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to GBP177.10 if you're single, or to GBP270.30 if you have a partner.

You could then be entitled to extra money on top of this, for example if you have a severe disability, care for another adult or are responsible for a child. The second part of Pension Credit is the Savings Credit element - this takes any savings you have into account. You could get up to GBP14.04 Savings Credit a week if you're single, or up to GBP15.71 a week with your partner.

This part of Pension Credit is only available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. If you're unsure of what you can claim, there is a free Pension Credit calculator on the Gov.uk website.

Claim a council tax reduction

If you're on a low income, living alone or receiving certain benefits, you could be entitled to council tax reduction - sometimes up to 100%. The support offered varies between councils, so there isn't a specific set of criteria that each one follows.

But it largely depends on your living circumstances, what money you have coming in and what benefits you claim. You can find links to your local authority by using a postcode checker on the Gov.uk website.

(C) Getty Images/EyeEm Do a quick check to see what benefits you could claim

Check what other benefits you can claim

It's worth spending five minutes using a free benefits calculator to check what other benefits you could be entitled to. Some of the most popular ones include:

For example, if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day, you could be entitled to Attendance Allowance. The amount you could get depends on the type of help you need, but can be between GBP60.00 or GBP89.60 per week - and it could increase the rate of other benefits you get as well. You have to be State Pension age or older to claim Attendance Allowance.

Gallery: Don't forget to budget for these things--or it will cost you (Espresso)

Another example of a benefit you may be entitled to is Housing Benefit, particularly if you get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit. If you previously claimed Personal Independence Allowance (PIP) before you reached State Pension age, you should continue to receive this support.

Again, the help you receive depends on how your condition affects your life - but amounts are worth between GBP23.70 and GBP152.15 per week.

Get extra National Insurance contributions

Grandparents who look after their grandkids could be missing out on crucial National Insurance contributions - which could in effect boost their State Pension by thousands over the course of your retirement. This contribution is called "specified adult childcare credits" which is where working parents sign over their child benefit national insurance credit to someone else. But a quick word of caution - parents should only do this if they're already in work or earning credits so they don't miss out when they reach retirement.

You can apply for "specified adult childcare credits" by using this form on the Gov.uk website. You need at least ten years' worth of credits to qualify for the State Pension, and at least 35 years' worth to get the full amount. The full new State Pension is currently worth GBP179.60 per week.

Get help with energy bills through Winter Fuel Payments

Some pensioners may be entitled to extra help to pay their energy bills through the Winter Fuel Payments scheme.

Depending on circumstances this could be between GBP100 and GBP300 and the money is normally sent between November and December. To qualify for this year's round of payments, you must have been born on or before 26 September 1955. You'll usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you receive the State Pension or another benefit - but you can also make a claim too if you don't fall into these categories.

If you're claiming for the first time, call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline nearer the qualifying period on 0800 731 0160.

Claim Cold Weather Payments

If you claim Pension Credit or certain other benefits, you could be entitled to to Cold Weather Payments when the temperature drops. You'll get GBP25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between November 1 and March 31 each year. If you're eligible, you'll be paid automatically - meaning you shouldn't need to apply.

Cold Weather Payments are paid on top of any Winter Fuel Payment support you get.

Find cheap cinema tickets

Cinema chains such as Odeon and Vue hold cheaper screenings for pensioners during the week, with tickets costing as little as GBP3. Vue has Seniors Screenings, Empire offers Empire Seniors and Odeon has Silver Cinema. As an extra perk, these screenings generally come with a free cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit as well.

Get help with home repairs

If you've got a broken appliance or need another small repair, Age UK may be able to help partner you up with a handyman to do the job.

The jobs that you could find help with range from small things like putting up shelves, to bigger jobs such as door and window locks to make your home secure. Use the postcode checker on the Age UK website to see what help is available near you. This will usually be a charged-for service and the cost will vary depending on the work needed.

Keep an eye out for GBP10 Christmas bonus

There is a little-known GBP10 Christmas bonus that is paid by the government to those receiving certain benefits, usually in the first week of December.

Among the list of benefits that make you eligible for this include the State Pension, Attendance Allowance and PIP - see the full list here. You don't need to apply for this payment as it should arrive in your bank account automatically.

Claim a free TV licence

If you get Pension Credit and you're over 75, you can apply for a free TV licence. Until August last year, all over-75s got a free TV licence but the rules have now changed so that you have to claiming Pension Credit to get it.

The price of a TV licence was recently increased from GBP157.50 to GBP159 from April 1.

(C) PA Can you claim a free TV licence?

Get free NHS prescriptions

Everyone aged 60 and over in England is entitled to free NHS prescriptions. The NHS prescription charge is currently GBP9.35 for each prescribed item - or it's free if you live in Wales and Scotland.

See if you can get a free eye test

You also qualify for a free eye test every two years if you're aged 60 or over - saving you roughly between GBP10 and GBP20. Those who get Pension Credit are also entitled to money off the cost of glasses through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

You'll get a free annual sight test at any age if you have a close family member who has been diagnosed with glaucoma or if you have diabetes.

Get a free bus pass

Pensioners in England can get a free bus pass when they reach the current female State Pension age - regardless of whether they are a man or woman. This can be quite confusing, but there is free online tools to help you work out when you qualify. In Wales and Scotland you can get a bus pass when you reach 60.

See more information on how to apply on the Gov.uk website.

Buy a senior rail card

Finally, if you're aged 60 or over you can also apply for a senior railcard to get a third off the price of train tickets. It costs GBP30 for one year, or GBP70 for a three-year pass, and how much you'll save depends on how often you use the trains. National Rail says on average, people save around GBP98 each year by using this railcard.

You can apply for one online.