How to boost retirement income: are you/your parents missing out on benefits?

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to boost retirement income - couple on scooterEvery year, a staggering £5.5bn of benefits goes unclaimed by older people, according to Age UK1. This financial support could potentially add thousands to your annual income. 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.

Pension Credit

  • 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.

Housing Benefit

  • 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.

  • Turn2us is a charity that helps people access benefits and grants. Its website includes a handy benefits calculator that assesses your financial situation and highlights your benefit entitlement.
  • You can also get help and advice on benefits from charities such as Citizens Advice and Age UK.
  • You can contact the government, or your council, directly for Council Tax Reduction.

Support from Foresters

Russian DollsMembers of Foresters Friendly Society may also be able to access financial assistance via our range of discretionary grants that can help with the cost of optical and dental care or in times of hardship. Find out more about our Foresters Extras range of member benefits here.

The membership benefits we provide are not regulated and are regularly reviewed by us to ensure they are relevant to our members.


Sources

1. www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/claiming-benefits/unclaimed-benefits/

2. www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/claiming-benefits/pension-credit/what-is-pension-credit/

3. www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-news/1-in-pensioners-struggling-despite-unclaimed-benefits/

4. www.gov.uk/pension-credit/overview

5. www.gov.uk/housing-benefit/eligibility

6. www.gov.uk/council-tax-reduction

 
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