Attendance Allowance: Age UK helps man claim benefit
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Almost half of pensioner homeowners have never checked if they are entitled to benefits aside from their State Pension, and may be missing out on valuable support. One widely overlooked benefit could top up your income by almost £5,000 a year if you qualify.
Millions of pensioners could be missing out on desperately needed support as the cost of living rockets, said Simon Gray, managing director of equity release advisor Hub Financial Solutions.
“Benefits are available in a wide range of circumstances, whether you are struggling for income, care for a relative, have an illness or disability, or are entitled to a reduction in your council tax.”
If you are living on less than the State Pension, first check if you are eligible to claim a vital income top-up called Pension Credit.
However, this is means-tested and is only available to the poorest pensioners. It will top up their weekly income to £182.60 if single or £278.70 if they have a partner.
Incredibly, 850,000 of the poorest pensioners fail to claim benefit that should make a massive difference to their lives.
Pension Credit is a gateway for other support. This includes housing benefit for tenants, mortgage interest support for homeowners, council tax reduction, a free over-75s TV licence, help with NHS dental treatment and glasses, transport costs for hospital appointments, and heating support.
You can apply by post or online at Gov.uk, or by calling the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.
However, there is another state benefit that is not means tested, which means many more people could be eligible to receive it.
It won’t affect your State Pension and you can claim it if you’re still working and earning money.
The numbers failing to claim pension credit are dwarfed by the 3.4 million who may be eligible for Attendance Allowance but fail to claim.
Attendance Allowance is paid to those who have reached State Pension age and have an illness or disability that affects their everyday lives, such as arthritis, heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
Those with a mental health condition, or who are deaf or blind, may also be able to claim.
Unlike Pension Credit, it doesn’t matter how much you have in income or savings. You may get Attendance Allowance regardless of your financial circumstances.
It is designed to people stay independent in their home and is paid at two different rates.
Those who need help either during either the day or night receive £61.85 a week. This increases to £92.40 a week for those needing help both day and night.
This is worth up to £4,804.80 a year, making it a hugely valuable benefit.
You don’t need to have received a diagnosis for your condition, but can apply while still having tests to find out what’s wrong.
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You will not be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already qualify for another benefit called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or if you get the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), to pay for your care.
If you apply for Attendance Allowance while getting DLA, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) will usually reassess your DLA award instead.
Those born on or after April 9, 1948, will be moved from DLA to PIP, and may get less money as a result.
If you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain state benefits, you might be able to claim Carer’s Allowance worth up to £69.70 a week.
However, anyone getting more than £69.70 a week in State Pension will not qualify, as these are seen as “overlapping benefits”.
State benefits are complicated and mistakes costly. To find out more, contact Citizens Advice, Turn2Us.org.uk, Age UK or the Government’s MoneyHelper guidance service.
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