Typically, people begin to seriously consider their retirement plans once they have reached their 60s.
It is the perfect opportunity for you to step back, appreciate your achievements, and devote your time to those people, interests and hobbies that you love most. After a lifetime of raising a family, working or fulfilling various other responsibilities, it is an exciting prospect.
Still, there are financial implications that have to be accounted for as well. It is a common assumption that your State Pension is all that you are entitled to in the United Kingdom. However, there are actually a range of over-60s benefits and retirement benefits that you could be claiming.
It is always helpful to be as prepared and as informed as possible, whether you are approaching retirement or you retired a while ago.
For this reason, we’ve written this list of the various benefits that are available to anyone over 60.
First and foremost, there is the State Pension. In the United Kingdom, you are eligible to claim your State Pension once you are 66. Of course, the amount you are entitled to will depend on how many years of National Insurance (NI) contributions you have qualified for.
If you live in the UK and you’ve paid National Insurance here for at least 10 years, then you will usually qualify for some State Pension, and if you’ve paid National Insurance for 35 years or more, then you should be eligible to receive the full new State Pension, which in the 2023/24 tax year is £203.85 per week.
There are several different ways to accrue NI qualifying years:
- Earning more than £242 each week from an employer. You’ll also accrue qualifying years if you earn between £123 and £242 a week from a single employer, however you won’t actually pay NI contributions.
- If you’re self-employed, paying NI contributions yourself.
- Claiming benefits for certain illnesses, disabilities, as a carer or for unemployment.
- Voluntarily paying NI contributions to fill any gaps in your record.
Learn more about the State Pension in our article How the State Pension works.
Winter fuel payment
With rising energy bills, more and more people are struggling to heat their homes. Your household may be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment as long as someone who was born on or before 25th September 1956 lives there. It is an annual tax-free payment that is between £250 and £600, and the amount you will receive will depend on whether they are any other qualifying occupants in your household as well as their ages.
You should receive the Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you’re claiming a State Pension or any other social security benefits, although this doesn’t include certain benefits such as housing benefit, child benefit or council tax reduction.
Even if you don’t receive these benefits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not eligible, although you will have to make a claim in order to receive it. You can learn more about the Winter Fuel Payment in our article Winter Fuel Payment: who gets it and when is it paid?
If you’re on a low income during retirement, then you may be able to boost what’s coming in with Pension Credit. Many people who are eligible to receive Pension Credit don’t claim it – so make sure you don’t miss out if you are.
Pension Credit has two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Guarantee Credit will top up whatever income you currently receive to £201.05 if you’re single, or your joint income to £306.85 if you have a partner.
Savings Credit is available to those who reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 if you saved some money for retirement, for example a personal or workplace pension. You can get up to £15.94 Savings Credit a week if you’re single, and up to £17.84 if you have a partner.
Extra amounts can also be awarded to your Guarantee Credit in certain circumstances.
If you are disabled, you could receive an extra £76.40 if you claim:
- Attendance Allowance the middle or highest rate from the care component of
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment (ADP).
If you care for an adult, you could get an extra £42.75 a week if you get Carer’s Allowance, or if you’ve claimed Carer’s Allowance but are not being paid because of another benefit.
If you’re responsible for any children under 20, you could get an extra £61.88 a week for each (or £72.31 for the first child if they were born before 6 April 2017). You cannot receive this extra amount if you already get Tax Credits.
If you are responsible for a child who is disabled and receives DLA, PIP or ADP you could receive an extra amount of £33.67 a week.
If you are responsible for a child who is blind, gets the highest rate care component of DLA or CDP, or gets the enhanced daily living component of PIP or ADP, you could receive an extra £104.86 a week.
To find out more, read our article Pension Credit explained.
Regardless of age, it is essential that you ensure you are as healthy as possible by making lifestyle changes as well as utilising healthcare services. If you’re over 60, there are a number of concessions that you may be entitled to for affordable and accessible healthcare. For example, anyone over 60 will receive free prescriptions from the NHS. You will also be eligible for a free NHS eyesight test, so you should definitely inform your optician if you still haven’t had an appointment. Anyone over 50 can also book a free flu jab every year.
There is additional help available through the NHS Low Income Scheme, although your eligibility for these will depend on your particular circumstances. For example, NHS dental treatment, any travelling costs associated with receiving NHS care, as well as the cost of glasses or contact lenses will be covered either completely or partially. You may qualify for this help if you receive certain benefits.
Even if you’re not in receipt of these benefits, you may still be entitled to help if you have a low income. The NHS website has a detailed guide on the application process.
Discounted public transport
If you’re over 60, then there are several public transport concessions that are available to you. Whilst some of these will ensure that you have discounted fares, others will mean that you can travel completely for free.
For example, you will be eligible for an older person’s bus pass once you reach state pension age, so that you can use the national bus service without having to pay anything. The application process is quite simple, and you can do it through the government website.
When it comes to rail travel, you will be entitled to the Senior Railcard once you are more than 60. It is a discount card, which means that you can purchase it for a fee of £30 a year and receive a third off the cost of any train tickets. If you travel frequently or on a long-distance basis, the savings can be significant. Applying for the Senior Railcard is straightforward through the website, and you’ll just need a valid passport or driving licence as identification.
If you’re aged 60 or over and live in a London borough, you can get free travel on Transport for London services with an Oyster photocard. You can learn how to apply on the TfL website.
Claiming Attendance Allowance is worth considering if you’re over state pension age and need someone’s help to look after yourself properly. There are two rates that are determined by the level of care you need, so you could receive either £61.85 or £101.75 per week if you have a physical or mental disability such as sight or hearing impairments or dementia.
This isn’t a means-tested benefit either, which means that your savings or income won’t affect your eligibility. You can learn more in our article What is the Attendance Allowance and who is eligible? or apply through the government website by filling out the Attendance Allowance Claim form.
TV licence concessions
Previously, anyone over 75 was entitled to a free TV licence. The rules were changed in 2020, however, which means that you will only be eligible for a free TV licence if you or anyone in your household is over 75, and claiming pension guarantee credits.
Knowing your entitlements
If you’re over 60, there are a range of concessions and discounts that are available to you. Some of these are accessible to everyone over 60, whilst others have additional eligibility requirements, such as receiving certain benefits or being on a low income.
It is estimated that billions of pounds of benefits are unclaimed every year. By checking your eligibility for the aforementioned benefits, you can ensure that you’re not missing out on anything that you are entitled to.
You can find out about some more of the discounts that might be available to you in our article The best discounts for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
Rest Less Money is on Instagram. Check out our account and give us a follow @rest_less_uk_money for all the latest Money News, updated daily.