Are you struggling to make ends meet?
You’ll be surprised at the financial support on offer in the lead-up to retirement and beyond.
According to older people’s charity, Age UK, nearly three million people over 65 are struggling financially, while government figures show that 1.9 million pensioners are on a low income. Despite this, the benefits targeted at older people are the most likely to go unclaimed.
The government estimates that up to 1.4 million pensioners do not claim one of the most important benefits for the retired – pension credit – with up to £3.3 billion unclaimed every year. The average amount unclaimed is significant – £2,000 per family, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Other benefits that also go unclaimed by older people include housing benefit and council tax benefit.
David Samson, welfare benefits expert at the Turn2us benefits advice service, run by the Elizabeth Finn Trust, says that many pensioners are not aware of the financial support available to them. “For example, they may be getting their state pension but not be aware that they are entitled to pension credit,” he says. “The rules for pension credit are more generous than the rules for working people, so they may have an entitlement that they don’t realise.
“It’s important to get the message out there as we know that claiming the correct benefits can make a huge difference to quality of life.”
The benefits that are on offer change as you get older – but some are available to people as young as 50-years-old.
Benefits in your 50s
With people in the UK living longer than ever before and the state pension age rising, most people are expected to have many years of work in front of them when they turn 50.
However, the government is concerned about the number of people in their 50s who are unemployed and find it hard to seek work. The unemployment rate for those aged 50 to 64 is now lower than the population as a whole, at 3% compared with 4.2% overall, according to the latest Labour Force survey, but there is evidence that those who lose their jobs later in life find it harder to find employment again.
There is some help for over 50s to get into work, with Job Centres sometimes offering specific advice for over 50s, including IT training, while older people are also eligible for the apprenticeship schemes and the New Enterprise Allowance for starting up their own businesses, subject to eligibility.
While you are in your 50s, you are also still eligible to claim jobseeker’s allowance if you are looking for work. After you reach state pension age, this benefit is no longer available.
Do You Need Help ?
Of course you can also look online at both of the websites provided by the two groups