People over State Pension age can claim two benefits which boost annual income by up to £9,544

Millions of older people across Great Britain could be missing out on additional payments of more than £9,544 each year, simply because they do not know about the two benefits, or wrongly believe they are not eligible for them.

Pension Credit helps those over 66 on a low income by boosting annual income by around £3,900 on average while Attendance Allowance can provide additional financial support of up to £434 each month, some £5,644 each year, for those with a long-term health condition or disability.

There are nearly 12.7 million people over State Pension age and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates that 880,000 are eligible for Pension Credit and not claiming the income-related benefit. Similarly, over one million pensioners are believed to be eligible for Attendance Allowance, which is not affected by income or savings, is tax-free and is not counted as income when it comes to claiming Pension Credit.

The New State Pension is worth up to £221.20 each week, some £884.80 every four-week pay period. The Basic State Pension is worth up to £169.50 each week, some £678 every four-week pay period.

Pension Credit in a nutshell

Pension Credit currently supports 1.4 million people, including 126,000 living in Scotland. It tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £218.15 a week for single pensioners or £332.95 for couples. It is worth on average £3,900 each year.

If you are a single person on the New State Pension with a total weekly income below £218.15, or part of a couple with a combined weekly income of less than £332.95, you may be eligible for Pension Credit.

Similarly, if you are over 65 and reached State Pension age before April 6, 2016 and on the Basic State Pension, you may still qualify for Pension Credit if your weekly income is less than £260.68 if you are single or £380.55 if you are part of a couple.

Mixed aged older couples and Pension Credit

In May 2019, the law changed so a ‘mixed age couple’ - a couple where one partner is of State Pension age and the other is under it - are considered to be a ‘working age’ couple when checking entitlement to means-tested benefits.

This means they cannot claim Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit until they are both State Pension age. Before this DWP change, a mixed age couple could be eligible to claim the more generous State Pension age benefits when just one of them reached State Pension age.

Other help if you get Pension Credit

If you qualify for Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as:

  • Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in

  • Support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in

  • Council Tax discount

  • Free TV licence if you are aged 75 or over

  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments

  • Help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme

  • A discount on the Royal Mail redirection service if you are moving house

Quickest way to check eligibility for Pension Credit

Older people, or friends and family, can quickly check their eligibility and get an estimate of what they may receive by using the online Pension Credit calculator on GOV.UK here.

Alternatively, pensioners can contact the Pension Credit helpline directly to make a claim on 0800 99 1234 - lines are open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

The DWP has also published a video on YouTube which offers a complete step-by-step guide to using the online calculator. You can watch it here.

More details about claiming Pension Credit can be fond on GOV.UK here.

Attendance Allowance in a nutshell

Attendance Allowance currently helps nearly 1.6 million older people across Great Britain including 140,716 living in Scotland with the extra daily living costs of having a physical or mental health condition, disability or long-term illness. You do not need to have someone caring for you in order to make a claim.

People over State Pension age claiming Attendance Allowance receive either £72.65 (lower rate) or £108.55 (higher rate) each week. As the benefit is usually paid every four weeks, this amounts to either £290.60 or £434.20 every payment period - some £5,644 over the 2024/25 financial year.

Who can claim?

You should apply for Attendance Allowance if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night -even if you don’t currently get that help.

This might include:

  • Help with your personal care - for example getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet

  • Help to stay safe

You should also apply if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, like a chair to lean on. Attendance Allowance isn’t just for people with a physical disability or illness.

You should also claim if you need help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:

  • a mental health condition

  • learning difficulties

  • a sensory condition - if you are deaf or visually impaired

Attendance Allowance isn't means-tested so it doesn't matter what other money you have coming in or how much you have in savings either - there's no limit. it is also tax-free and you will be exempt from the Benefit Cap so you won't have money taken away from any other benefits you're already claiming.

You can also claim it if you're still working and earning money.

How to make a claim

You will need to complete a long claim form when you apply for Attendance Allowance. It might seem daunting at first but help is available from Citizens Advice and Independent Age.

Full details of how to get the application form by post or over the phone can be found on the GOV.UK website here.