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Claim all your benefit entitlements says charity

An estimated £175m in benefits goes unclaimed by older people in Wales each year

Age Cymru estimates that approximately £175m of state benefits goes unclaimed each year amongst the over 60s in Wales, money that could lift thousands out of poverty and enable them to live a more independent and dignified later life.

There are numerous benefits available to older people that could help with housing costs, care needs or general day-to-day living expenses.  The charity has just launched its free guide More money in your pocket. The guide covers State Pension, Pension Credit, the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Housing Benefit and help with heating costs.

It specifically looks at the range of financial support available to help people with their wellbeing, including Attendance Allowance if you need help to stay independent at home due to an illness or disability and Carer’s Allowance if you look after someone. The guide also covers help with health costs such as dental treatment, glasses or contact lenses and certain travel costs to receive NHS treatment.

Some people miss out on benefits because they mistakenly believe they don’t qualify or are put off by the claims process. Some think their income is too high – however income and savings limits on certain benefits may be higher than you think. Also, there are some benefits like Attendance Allowance that are not means-tested, so your income and savings won’t be taken into consideration. Others think owning their own home will prevent them from receiving support which is simply not the case as many older homeowners make a successful claim for Pension Credit, for instance.

Another barrier to making a claim is the notion that ‘I can get by’. However, having paid into the tax system all your life, now might be the time to think about what support and equipment you might need to carry on living independently at home. Many people think that the claims process is too difficult, but for some benefits, such as Pension Credit, it only takes one phone call and you won’t have to fill in a form.

If you’re comfortable using online technology then you might find Age Cymru’s online benefits calculator useful. It is free to use and is totally confidential. Before you use the calculator you’ll need to gather together details on your income and savings, pensions and any benefits you’re already receiving, as well as your rent or housing costs and Council Tax band. It should only take 10 minutes to complete and you’ll see how much you may be eligible to claim.

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “I would urge anyone over 60 to think about what benefits may be available. These payments are designed to help older people meet the costs of later life. It is really important that people are able to claim the funds that are rightfully theirs,  funds that could make a real difference.  Making a claim is not as difficult as you may think and there is help out there should you need it.”