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Benefits

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Welfare available to people aged 50+ is highly complex. You are recommended to signpost customers to relevant specialists within voluntary agencies or government departments who have detailed knowledge of the eligibility criteria for the various products.

Payments take the form of either:

  • Benefits via the Department for Work and Pensions at Jobcentre Plus
  • Tax credits (via HM Revenue and Customs)

People may be entitled to payments from both categories.

Benefits/tax credit products

Benefits/tax credit products fit into one of four categories:

  • Contributory (ie dependent on having made National Insurance contributions) but not means tested (ie not reduced by household income or savings levels)
  • Contributory and means tested
  • Benefits/tax credit products fit into one of four categories
  • Non-contributory and non-means tested
  • Non-contributory but means tested.

For those benefits which are means tested a complication of the system is that levels and types of household income and savings against which each type of benefit is tested is not a standardised sum of money.

It is imperative to check the relevant figures for each benefit being discussed.

This is a useful list for exploring common benefits applicable to people aged 50+.

Benefits

Low income

  • Jobseeker allowances
  • Allowances for housing. council tax. crisis payments
  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Pension credit

Disability or the need to provide care to other dependents
A variety of income support, attendance allowances, disability living allowances, carers allowance and grants are available

Ill health. Terminal illness
A variety of benefits and grants are available to assist with ill health, bereavement and care for terminally ill

Long-term care
Administered by either Local Authority or local Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) depending on need

Age-related

  • State pension (full and additional state pensions (see Pensions Section)
  • Various concessions for the over 60s relating to health, transport, heating, insulation, leisure, etc
  • Increased non-taxable personal allowance for those aged 65+ and other tax free income

Bear in mind all tax credits are means tested against annual household income.

Working tax credit

  • Can only be claimed by people who are over 25 if they work more than 30 hours per week
  • The '50-plus' element was discontinued on 6 April 2012.  (See here for more information and for examples of how changes to working tax credits affect payments, including for those aged 50+.)
  • Child tax credit is an element within working tax credit where there are family responsibilities

Pension credit

Pension credit is designed to ensure adults aged 60+ have a guaranteed minimum weekly income. It comprises two elements:

  • Guarantee credit: paid at state pension age and guaranteed to top-up state pension to a minimum guarantee per week
    £132.60 if you are single
    £202.40 if you have a partner
  • Receipt of guarantee credit automatically gives entitlement to further benefits relating to housing, council tax
  • Savings credit: paid at 65 if an individual or couple have some savings towards their retirement
  • It is possible to receive either or both

Disclaimer
This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.