MILLIONS of grandparents will get a pay boost next year as state pension and benefit payments go up.
It’ll see cash-tight struggling pensioners get help towards their food and energy bills.
The increase is due to benefits and Universal Credit payments rising in line with September’s inflation rate of 10.1% next April.
Last April, benefits rose by 3.1% but bills and food prices have increased since then.
The UK’s rate of inflation fell to 10.7% in November as petrol prices dropped easing some of the pressure on people’s finances.
Retirees on pension credit, attendance allowance and state pension will be getting a top up.
But the increases are different for each one, here we explain each.
Pension credit will rise from £182.60 a week to £201.05 in April next year.
For couples, it’ll go from £278.70 to £306.85.
If your income is lower than this, you should be eligible for the benefit.
You’ll also need to be over the State Pension age, and there are two parts to the benefit.
Pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you’ve saved money towards retirement.
You could get the “Savings Credit” part of Pension Credit if both of the following apply:
- you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016
- you saved some money for retirement, for example, a personal or workplace pension
This part of Pension Credit will rise from £14.48 a week to £15.94 or for couples, from £16.20 to £17.84.
There are also top-up amounts, for instance, if you’re caring for someone else or are disabled.
The full list of benefits you could get by putting in your Pension Credit application include:
- Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
- Support if you own the property you live in
- Council Tax Reductions
- A free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
- Help with NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, glasses and free transport costs for hospital appointments
- Help with your heating costs including cold weather payments.
You can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.
If you’ve already passed your state pension age, you can still apply but you can only backdate the claim by three months.
To claim you’ll need your:
- National Insurance number
- Information about any income, savings and investments you have
- Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually three months ago or the date you reached State Pension age).
You’ll also need your bank details to hand.
You can apply using the online service if you’ve already claimed your state pension and there are no children in the application.
Otherwise you’ll have to use the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or apply by post by printing out and filling in the Pension Credit claim form.
You’ll need to post the form to: The Pension Service 8, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AN.
The attendance allowance is designed to help with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.
It’s paid at two different rates and how much you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability.
The higher rate will rise from £92.40 to £101.75, while the lower rate will also go up from £61.85 to £68.10.
There are 57 categories of medical conditions you can claim with, but the most commonly used ones are arthritis (30%) and dementia (8%).
But figures from earlier this year show some claimants could be missing out on cash they should be eligible for – so it’s important you check.
To get attendance allowance you need to be:
You cannot get Attendance Allowance if you already get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
To qualify for the lower amount, you need to require frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night.
You get the higher amount if you need help or supervision throughout both day and night, or if you’re terminally ill.
Usually, you need to have needed help with your condition for more than six months to get the benefit, but this is waived if you’re terminally ill.
You don’t need to have a carer in order to claim, but if you do, they could get Carer’s Allowance if you have substantial caring needs.
You can’t get Attendance Allowance if you live in a care home and your care is paid for by your local authority.
However, you can still claim if you pay for all your care home costs yourself.
To qualify, you also need to be in Great Britain when you claim, unless you’re in the armed forces.
You need to have been in Great Britain for at least two of the last three years and be habitually resident in the UK.
However, you might still be able to get Attendance Allowance if you’re a UK national and you live in or move to the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
You can find a full list of medical categories that are eligible here.
Signing up for attendance allowance may also boost any other benefits you get.
For instance, you could get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or a council tax reduction.
The money is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.
You also won’t be affected by the Benefit Cap if you or your partner get Attendance Allowance.
The benefit cap limits what households can claim per year.
If you want to know whether your specific benefits will be affected by receiving Attendance Allowance, you should contact the office dealing with that benefit.
They will then assess you to see what other help you might be entitled to.
One thing to note is that you might need to send them a copy of your Attendance Allowance decision letter.
Here’s the Attendance Allowance claim form.
The full rate of the new State Pension will rise from £185.15 a week to £203.85.
This is what the state pays those who reached state pension age after April 6, 2016.
For the basic part of the old state pension, the rate will rise from £141.85 to £156.20.
This is paid under the old pension system and is for those who retired before April 6, 2016.
There’s also the additional state pension under the old system, which is an extra payment on top of the basic state pension some are entitled to.
In response to rising life expectancy, the age at which you become eligible to receive the state pension has been going up.
The age is now 66 for both men and women and set to reach 68 by 2039.
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