Elderly benefits: a complete overview

7 July 2022 by Robin - 17 minutes of reading time


There are a variety of benefits you may earn if you are over an elderly person. They may be benefits like State Pension, Pension Credit and Lone Pensioner Allowance (LPA). They can help you pay for a variety of costs. This Your Benefits will walk you through everything you need to know. 

What is Pension Credit?

You may be State Pension age or older and on a low income. In this case, Pension Credit may help cover day to day expenses. It can also cover costs that arise from housing. This may include service charges or rent.

Pension Credit and State Pension are not the same benefit. If you are able to receive Pension Credit, you will automatically receive cold weather payment.

Payments are usually put into your account directly. This is the same as most benefits, allowances and pensions.

How and when may I claim Pension Credit?

You are able to begin claiming Pension Credit up to 4 months before reaching State Pension age. However, you are also able to backdate your claim for a maximum of 3 months. This means that you may still receive payments for months you were eligible for but did not apply.

What does ‘backdating’ your claim mean? Let’s say you turned State Pension age 2 months ago. However, you forgot to apply for Pension Credit. If you apply now or a month from now (3 months after you reached State Pension age), you will be able to receive the money you were owed.
In other words, you will receive the payments that you may have thought you could not receive, because of not applying in time. 

You may apply for this benefit on the Gov.UK website online. However, if you wish, you can also apply by phone or post to the Pension Credit claim line and service. The information that you will need include your National Insurance number and information on your income, savings and investments.

How much can I receive through Pension Credit?

Pension Credit amount by eligibility in 2022
Condition Weekly amount
You are single £177.10 (total topped up income)
You are a couple £270.30 (total topped up income)
You have a severe disability £67.30 extra
You care for another adult £37.70 extra
You are responsible for a child or young person under 20 born after 6 April 2017 £54.60 extra per child
You are responsible for a child or young person under 20 born before 6 April 2017 £65.10 extra per child
You are responsible for a disabled child or young person under 20 either £29.66 or £92.54 extra, depending on the benefits they receive
You pay for housing costs Amounts may vary depending on your expenses
You have savings or a second pension and are single £14.04 extra in Savings Credit
You have savings or a second pension and are a couple £15.71 extra in Savings Credit

Pension Credit tops up your income to a certain amount. If you are single, this is £177.10 in weekly income. If you are in a couple, this is £270.30 total in a weekly joint income.

There are also a number of situations and circumstances that may earn you extra Pension Credit. For example, you may have a severe disability, or care for another adult. Each will earn you extra, as shown in the table above. Same thing if you are responsible for a child, pay for housing costs, or have savings.

Can I earn extra Pension Credit for taking care of children or young people?

You may be eligible for an additional weekly £54.60 for every child or young person under your responsibility. If the child’s date of birth is earlier than 6 April 2017, this amount is £65.10 weekly instead. The child or young person must typically live with you. They must also be younger than 20 years old.

Your child may be 16 years or older and younger than 20 years old. You may earn the additional amount if they are in or accepted in:

  • an approved training
    • like Foundation Apprenticeships
  • a non-advanced education course
    • an example of this may be studying for A levels or GCSEs
    • they must be at their course for more than 12 hours

You may earn Tax Credits. In this case, caring for a child may not earn you extra Pension Credit. However, you might be able to receive Child Tax Credits.

What is State Pension?

The State Pension is a payment regularly paid from the government to most people who reach State Pension age and claim it. 

There are two versions of the scheme: the basic and new scheme.

If you have income coming from things such as a personal pension or a workplace pension, you might still qualify for State Pension. You also might have to pay taxes on your State Pension.

In order to qualify for the full amount of either State Pensions, you will need to have accumulated years contributing to National Insurance.

To receive full amount of the basic scheme, you need to have accumulated a total of 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits. You need 35 years of contributions to receive the full new State Pension amount. You need at least 10 qualifying years to receive any State Pension.

How old do I need to be to receive State Pension?

You may qualify for either the basic or new scheme. Which one you receive depends on your date of birth:

Version of State Pension you will receive depending on your gender and date of birth in 2022
Date of birth Gender Version of the scheme
Before 6 April 1951 Men Basic scheme
On or after 6 April 1951 Men New scheme
Before 6 April 1953 Women Basic scheme
On or after 6 April 1953 Women New scheme

You will be eligible to start receiving this benefit once you reach State Pension age. Whether you are eligible for the basic version of the scheme depends on your date of birth.

You are eligible for basic State Pension if you were:

  • Before 6 April 1951 for men
  • Before 6 April 1953 for women

You may be eligible to receive the new scheme if you were born on or after:

  • 6 April 1951 for men
  • 6 April 1953 for women

How much State Pension can I receive?

How much State Pension can I receive?

You will receive a different amount depending on whether you earn the basic or new scheme. Additionally, it depends if you earn the full or a reduced amount.

If you receive the full basic scheme, you will be paid £137.60 per week. You may have to pay tax on it. If you do not have enough years of contributions to National Insurance, you will likely receive an amount inferior to this. However, if you may pay voluntary National Insurance contributions to remedy this.

If you are married or in a civil partnership, you may be able to increase your benefit. You may receive up to £82.45 weekly if you either:

  • do not qualify for the basic scheme
  • receive less than £82.45 through your basic scheme

You might be eligible to inherit some of the benefit from your civil partner or spouse if you either:

  • qualify for the basic scheme
  • receive less than £137.60 through your basic State Pension

If you receive the full new scheme, you will be paid £179.60 per week. The amount you are able to receive is dependent on your National Insurance record.

How may I claim State Pension?

How you may claim this benefit depends on whether you earn the basic or new scheme.

If you wish to claim the new State Pension, you should have received a letter if you are eligible. It should indicate how to claim new State Pension on it. Moreover, you may claim it no more than 2 months before reaching State Pension age.
You may not have received a letter, or wish to start claiming State Pension sooner. In this case, you may do so. You can start claiming State Pension 4 months before reaching State Pension age.
The most effective way to apply is online. However, you may also do so by post if you wish.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you must claim your new State Pension a different way.

You may not claim basic State Pension online. Instead, you will need to do through one of the following 3 methods:

  • Calling the State Pension claim line
  • By downloading the State Pension claim form, filling it and posting it to your local pension centre
  • Claiming from abroad
    • This includes the Channel Islands

What is a workplace pension?

A workplace pension is a type of pension managed by your employer. In fact, you may be able to have your employer make contributions to your pension. More specifically, there is typically a minimum number of contributions that need to be made. 

The minimum amount of contributions that can be made can be completed by both your employer and yourself. In other words, you can mix how much you and your employer contribute, as long as the minimum amount is met.

The government may also contribute to your pension pot. Then, they would also make payments to your pension pot. This is also known as ‘tax relief’.

Sometimes, you could be automatically opted in to a workplace pension. This is true if some conditions apply to your situation. However, you may not be eligible to be automatically opted in. Then, you would need to let your employer know that you want to be included to the workplace pension scheme.

How will my workplace pension be paid?

Your workplace pension can be paid in two different ways. However, for both methods, payments will be made automatically. What differs is if they are made before or after tax and National Insurance.

You can also protect your pension. In fact, your provider or employer may go bust. Then, you may or may not be able to receive payments anymore. This depends on a couple of things. First, if it is your employer or provider that goes bust. Second, if your provider is official and registered.

In a number of cases, you will be able to continue to receive payments after your employer or provider goes bust. However, if you continue to receive payments, these payments will typically be reduced.

What is a pension scam?

A pension scam is a way that scammers could try to steal the money in your pension pot. In a lot of circumstances, this involves cold calling you about pension schemes.

There are a number of things that can be considered warning signs when it comes to pension scams. Typically, pension scams make ‘too good to be true’ promises. They will typically promise high returns if you give them your pension pot.

There are certain things that you could do to protect your pension from pension scams. In fact, you could do things such as get an independent adviser to tell you about what you should do.

Additionally, you can report a pension scam. You should do this because authorities being aware of pension scams can help them better stop them. Then, elected officials could have more information about how to pass laws to counter pension scams. 

Are there other types of pension scams?

There are other types of pension scams. First, cold calls are a pretty popular way for scammers to try to contact you. However, now, pension scammers also have other ways to look legitimate. More specifically, they could have things such as a legitimate-looking website, to lend them credibility.

Additionally, they could do things such as phishing. In fact, they could try to impersonate your bank or even HMRC. Then, they could attempt to steal your information.

Moreover, note that a pension scheme needs to be registered. In fact, if they are not registered, they are not a legitimate scheme. Additionally, your pension provider could decide to not let you go through with a transfer of your pension pot. 

Lastly, a scammer could call you, and act like they are from a government agency. However, note that the government and government agencies will never contact you by phone out of nowhere. As such, if you receive a phone call about pension schemes, you can typically immediately dismiss it.

You may have additional questions about pension scams. This could include how to spot them, how to protect against them. Then, visit the article linked above to learn more. 

Do I need to pay tax on my private pension?

You may need to pay tax on your private pension. However, your private pension could be tax-free up to a certain point. Indeed, your pension provider could provide something called ‘relief at source’. What this means is you will be able to get tax relief directly in your pension pot.

Additionally, whether you can get a tax relief depends on certain factors. Indeed, it depends on your situation, as well as the type of pension that you have.

There are also other concepts that are important to know. Indeed, you may have to be aware of your lifetime allowance and annual allowance. These are the amounts that you can get before having to pay taxes on what you receive.

The lifetime allowance, for example, was reduced. Indeed, this happened in 2016. However, you could be able to protect your pension from this reduction. Essentially, this means that you will be able to accumulate more money in your pension(s) before having to pay taxes.

The annual allowance only affects tax years. Indeed, it dictates how much you can receive before having to pay taxes on them.

How do I get a private pension tax relief?

You could receive a private pension tax relief. Indeed, sometimes, you will be automatically eligible for this. More specifically, you will not have to pay taxes on your private pension up to a certain amount.

However, whether you are able to receive tax relief on your pension also depends on other factors, like if your pension scheme is registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Your tax relief rate also depends on things like how much you are able to invest in your pension pot, as well as your location.

Often times, you will need to claim the tax reliefs that you get. Also note that even when taxes are deducted automatically by your pension provider, you still have to report them. 

Can I transfer my pension?

You could transfer your pension. Indeed, this is the case if you find a better scheme, or you would like to move. Furthermore, you may or may not have to pay taxes on your transfer. Indeed, this depends on a multitude of factors.

Additionally, finding a better scheme may warrant a transfer. However, make sure that the scheme is not instead a scam. Indeed, there are a lot of scammers who take advantage of people’s pensions to scam them out of their money. Make sure that this does not happen to you.

Furthermore, if you transfer your pension abroad, it needs to be part of a certain scheme. Indeed, otherwise, you could have to pay up to 40% tax on it. To avoid this situation, make sure that you know everything you need to know before making a transfer.

Indeed, you do not want to pay too much tax on your transfer if it is not absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you could really pay more than what you should. Make sure that all your information is up to date to optimize the transfer of your pension.

What is Lone Pensioner Allowance (LPA)?

Lone Pensioner Allowance (LPA) is a discount that people 70 or over that live alone in Northern Ireland may earn. If you qualify for this benefit, you will earn a 20% discount on your rates. This is not a means-tested benefit. What this means is, normally, other social security benefits you already earn will not be impacted.

You will not need to indicate what your income and savings are when doing your claim. The amount of savings and investments you may have will not disqualify you.

Once you start receiving Lone Pensioner Allowance (LPA), you will not stop receiving it. This is unless your situation changes. For example, the amount that you receive may differ if you no do not have to pay rates anymore, or a new person comes to live in your home.

Can I claim Lone Pensioner Allowance (LPA) if I do not live alone?

There are some exceptions that make it so that you do not need to live alone to claim this benefit. These circumstances include:

  • if you live with a child
  • you need a resident carer, and thus have someone taking care of you
  • a person living with you in now in the hospital or in long term care. 

You may be a Housing Executive or Housing Association tenant. In this case, this benefit affects your rate or rent account directly. You may be a private tenant, or you may your rate charges to Land and Property Services directly. In this case, this benefit is credited directly to your rates account.

What is the Senior Railcard?What is the Senior Railcard?

The Senior Railcard allows people over 60 years old discounts off their train tickets. More specifically, elderly citizens are able to receive 1/3 off the price of train fares within Great Britain.

TV licence for elderly

You may be over 75 years old and receiving Pension Credit. In this case, you are able to not pay anything for your TV licence. Additionally, you may be eligible for a discount if you are under 75 years old but visually impaired.

If you are over 75 years old, and are a recipient of Pension Credit, you are able to not pay anything for your TV licence. However, on top of this, any person currently living with you will also be covered, not just yourself. Their age will not impact this.
If you are blind or severely visually impaired, you may get 50% off the price of your TV licence. If it is the person that you live with that 

You will not be automatically receiving this. You need to apply if you believe you are eligible. To receive an application form, you may contact TV licensing on 0300 790 6117.
Also contact TV licencing if you are blind or visually impaired. Once this is done, discounts will be automatically applied to your TV licence renewals.

You may have already paid for your TV Licence. If you believe that you are eligible for one of the discounts, you may call TV licensing. They should be able to help you claim a refund.

What is the Mobility Allowance?

The Mobility Allowance is a benefit paid monthly to people on or over the age of 16, and under the age of 66 in Northern Ireland. Beneficiaries must have a disability and not be able to either walk or make use of public transportation. They must also be able to benefit to a change in their environment. For example, they may qualify if they would really benefit from being driven to their destination by taxi.

The Mobility Allowance scheme was closed to new applicants in 2013. An alternative benefit is being created, but has not yet been released. This new scheme will be called the Transport Support scheme.

Although you may not apply for this benefit anymore, you may be able to earn other financial aid. Your Benefits can help.
Use our free simulator to see all of the financial benefits that you may be entitled to. If you need help reducing your bills, contact our advisers. They will be able to walk you through how to reduce how much you pay for electricity, your phone… Finally, we offer a service to take care of all of your administrative tasks for you. 

The Health Service Executive (HSE) will continue to pay Mobility Allowance monthly to those who were eligible and receiving the benefit at the time that the scheme closed.

How did the Mobility Allowance work?

As said previously, the Mobility Allowance scheme is now closed to new applications. These were the rules when it was still open. All of them must apply to your situation. You were able to earn the benefit if you:

  • cannot walk, even when using aids like artificial limbs, or your current condition makes it so that the fatigue you feel from doing so is dangerous to you
  • are unable to walk for at least the duration of a whole year
  • were forbidden to move by a medical professional
  • could get significant benefits from a change in your current actual situation, environment or services at your disposition
  • currently either live at your home or in a long-term institution
  • pass a means test

You may or may not pass the medical criteria for the benefit. Whether this is the case or not is determined by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Senior Area Medical Officer assigned to your specific area.

How much does Mobility Allowance pay?

There are two rates to this benefit, high and low rates. You are eligible for the low rate if you received the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) benefit. In this case, you would be paid €104.25 per month. If you receive the high rate, you would instead receive €208.50 per month.

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

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