The State Pension is a regular payment people can claim once they reach State Pension age. If you are a man aged 65 and over, you can claim a State Pension.
For women it is slightly different. Women born before 5 April 1950, could get a State Pension from the age of 60. For women born after 5 April 1950 a State Pension is no longer available from the age of 60. This age is slowly increasing so that by 2018 the pension age will be the same for women as for men.
To claim a State Pension you also need to have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions during your working life.
Women can use their husbands' National Insurance contribution record to receive a State Pension but will only be able to do this when their husband reaches the age of 65 and claims his pension. Some people may have years discounted under Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) where they have received child benefit or been carers for a disabled person.
There are separate rules for people who are widows, widowers, dissolved civil partners or people who are divorced and use their late or ex-spouse’s contribution record. People who cannot get a State Pension because of their National Insurance record, may be able to get one when they reach the age of 80 and have been living in the UK for at least 10 years since they were 60 years old.
For more information on state pensions, visit the GOV.UK website.
back to top
Pension Credit is extra money paid on top of your State Pension. A single person who applies for Pension Credit must be aged at least 60 or over and for couples, at least one of the partners must be aged at least 60 or over. The age you can get Pension Credit is slowly increasing to match the age women can claim their State Pension.
Pension Credit has two parts:
Guarantee Credit, guarantees older people with a minimum level of income; and
Savings Credit, rewards those over 65 for having savings, an extra pension or a higher state pension.
You may be able to claim one part or both parts, depending on your circumstances. Both are means tested benefits which means they are affected by the amount of income you have coming in. There is no maximum level on the amount of savings you can have. Savings up to £10,000 are ignored and do not reduce the benefit that you can get. Savings over £10,000 will affect the amount of Pension Credit that you can get.
The amount of Pension Credit you can get is higher for certain people such as carers or severely disabled people. Pension Credit can also help with mortgages.
For more information on Pension Credit, visit the GOV.UK website.
back to top
Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit can help you pay your rent and Council Tax if you're on a low income.
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit if you are:
responsible for rent and/or Council Tax; and
on a low income with savings of less than £16,000 (unless on ‘Guarantee Credit’ part of Pension Credit)
These are both means tested benefits and are claimed from the Local Authority. If you have savings over £16,000 and do not qualify for the ‘Guarantee Credit’ part of Pension Credit, you will not be able to claim either of these benefits. If you do qualify for Guarantee Credit there is no limit on the amount of savings you can have and still claim these benefits.
If you live alone you may also be entitled to a 25% discount on your Council Tax. Some people may be entitled to a discount for other reasons such as severe mental impairment or having adaptions to their home.
To find out more about Council Tax discounts please see our ‘Council Tax discounts’ page under related pages.
There is also another type of Council Tax benefit called Second Adult Rebate. You may get Second Adult Rebate if the person you share your home with is:
not your partner or civil partner;
aged 18 or over;
not paying you rent;
not paying Council Tax themselves;
on a low income;
You may be able to get Second Adult Rebate even if you don't receive Council Tax Benefit. If you're either:
not entitled to Council Tax Benefit
only entitled to benefit which would cover 25 per cent or less of your Council Tax
For more information on Housing and Council Tax Benefits, visit the GOV.UK website.
back to top
Tax credits are payments from the government. If you're responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but you are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. You can often get both types of Tax Credits.
You may be entitled to Working Tax Credit if you work at least 16 hours a week and you are:
aged 16 or over and responsible for at least one child;
aged 16 or over and disabled; or
aged 25 or over and usually work at least 30 hours a week.
Please note: there are special rules if you're aged 50 or over and work at least 16 hours a week.
From April 2011, people aged 60 and over who work 16 hours a week will qualify for Working Tax Credit.
Child Tax Credit can be claimed if you have at least one dependant child in full time education or unpaid training.
Tax Credits are means tested and are paid by HM Revenues and Customs. However, the means test is more generous for Child Tax Credit than for some other benefits. This means you can still receive the basic amount even if you are on quite a high level of income.
For more information on Tax Credits, visit the HM Revenues and Customs website.
back to top
Most National Health Service (NHS) treatment is free but there can be charges for some things. You may be able to get help with NHS health costs if, for example, you are on a low income.
You may be entitled to Health Benefits if you:
are on a low income;
do not have savings over £16,000; and
need help with prescription costs, dental or optician fees, travelling to hospital or for surgical aids.
You may also qualify for other reasons such as your age, certain health conditions, pregnancy or if you are responsible for a child under 12 months of age.
For more information on Health Benefits, visit the GOV.UK website.
If you are over the age of 60 and have health problems, visit our Benefits - sick or disabled page under related pages. This will give you information about Disability Living Allowance (for claims which start before your 65th birthday) and Attendance Allowance if you have disability needs and claim after your 65th birthday.
The benefits and Tax Credits that you may be able to get will depend upon your circumstances.
back to top