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Guide to elderly benefits and entitlements

Billions in benefits and financial support goes unclaimed each year. Our guide outlines the main benefits and entitlements.

January 10, 2024

Elderly couple at home

Research indicates that more than a million pension-age households in the UK could be missing out on financial support that they are eligible for. In many cases, this could be because these older adults are simply unaware of their entitlement to claim certain benefits, allowances and concessions.

In this article, we look at some of the most common types of elderly benefits and entitlements that may currently be going unclaimed by many of those who are eligible.

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Elderly support with household bills

Many senior citizens are on a fixed income and things such as bills increasing significantly can have a big impact on their overall living costs. The main types of support available for helping the elderly with bills include:

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free payment for those households including someone who was born before 25th September 1957 and meets the other eligibility criteria. This payment is designed to help pay for heating costs over winter and the payment amount will depend on individual circumstances, such as age and whether there are others in the same household that are eligible for the payment too.

Those claiming state pension (or have deferred their state pension) should automatically receive the Winter Fuel Payment into the same bank account, usually in November or December each year. They should receive a letter in October or November, telling them the payment amount they will receive.

If you believe that you or an elderly loved one is eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment but have not received it by the end of January, you can call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160.

You’ll need to have your National Insurance number and bank details to hand when you contact them.

Warm Home Discount

Eligible households can receive £150, applied directly to their energy bill, each winter to help with these costs. There is a different scheme in England and Wales to Scotland, which do work slightly differently.

Eligible pensioners should receive this discount to their energy bill automatically. Those who receive the ‘Guarantee Element’ of Pension Credit are eligible for the Warm Home Discount, as long as their energy supplier participates in the scheme.

The discount is usually applied to the energy bill directly between October and the following March, following a letter that will confirm the discount is on its way. Those on prepayment energy meters should either have the credit added automatically to the electricity account, or be sent a top-up voucher by mail or email if they need to top up the meter in person at a Paypoint shop or Post Office.

If you think that your household, or that of an elderly loved one, is eligible for the Warm Home Discount but have not received a letter by the middle of January, you can call the helpline on 0800 030 9322, before the end of February.

Cold Weather Payments

The Cold Weather Payment is an additional payment made to eligible people when there is very cold weather. The average temperature in your area needs to have been 0°C for 7 days in a row to trigger a Cold Weather Payment to be made automatically within the next 14 working days, during the time period of 1st November – 31st March each year. The payment is £25 per week and those in receipt of Pension Credit are eligible.

Council Tax Support

Every local authority has its own rules for who is eligible for support with council tax payments, so it’s important to check with your council to find out what applies in your area. Some councils will provide discounts to those in receipt of certain benefits or on low incomes, along with various other eligibility criteria.

If you, or an elderly loved one, live alone, then you are usually eligible for a 25% discount on council tax, which you will need to apply for with your local authority. If you claim Pension Credit, you may be able to get a further or even a full deduction of council tax, depending on the circumstances.

Along with support for council tax, councils also have discretionary funds called the Household Support Fund, which they each have their own eligibility criteria for. Many will have money set aside to help older people specifically, so it’s worth contacting your council to find out if you or an older loved one are eligible for more financial assistance from this fund.

Housing Benefit

If an elderly person on a low income is renting their home, either privately or through social housing, they may be able to claim Housing Benefit to help pay for some or all of the rent. The amount of housing benefit awarded can depend on income, any savings and other circumstances, such as the amount of rent due, who lives there and certain other benefits received, such as Pension Credit.

If Pension Credit is already being claimed, you can contact the Pension Service to apply for Housing Benefit along with your Pension Credit claim. If Pension Credit is not being claimed, Housing Benefit can be applied for through the local council.

Elderly person on telephone 

Pension Credit

Those who are over State Pension age and on a low income may be eligible for Pension Credit, even if there is other income or savings/assets. There are two parts to Pension Credit, known as Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, and some pensioners may be eligible for one or both of these parts.

Guarantee Credit is a benefit designed to top up income to a guaranteed minimum level. The payment amount is evaluated annually but in 2023/24, the level that Pension Credit aims to top up the income to is:

  • £201.05 weekly for a single pensioner
  • £306.85 weekly for a couple

Savings Credit is an extra sum that even those with some savings or a higher income than the State Pension alone may be eligible for. Again, the specific sum is reviewed annually, but in 2023/24, it is:

  • £15.94 a week for a single pensioner
  • £17.84 a week for couples

You can check if you, or an elderly loved one, is eligible to claim Pension Credit by calling the claim line on 0800 99 1234, and they will fill in an application over the phone.

Pension Credit is what is sometimes called a ‘gateway benefit’, because claiming it can mean you have access to other elderly benefits, entitlements and discounts. These may include:

  • Help with housing costs
  • Help with household bills

Financial support for care

Those over State Pension age who need some help with care or supervision because of an illness or a disability may be eligible for Attendance Allowance.

Attendance Allowance

There are two different rates of Attendance Allowance, designed to help support those with different levels of care need. It isn’t means-tested or taxable, meaning that any savings or income doesn’t affect a claim and it won’t affect any other benefit claims either.

  • Lower rate Attendance Allowance is for those who need some help during the day or at night. In 2023/24, the rate is £68.10 per week.
  • Higher rate Attendance Allowance is for those who need help during the day and at night, or are terminally ill. In 2023/24, the rate is £101.75 per week.

To be eligible for Attendance Allowance, all of the below criteria must be met:

  • Over State Pension age
  • Have any type of disability or physical or mental illness, including hearing or sight impairments, or conditions like dementia
  • Will benefit from help with personal care, like getting up, washed and dressed, or from having supervision to keep safe during the day or at night
  • Have needed help for at least six months, although this timeframe does not apply if the claimant is terminally ill.

The Attendance Allowance helpline can be reached on 0800 731 0122 to be sent a claim form, or you can download one from

If you are caring for someone and you are under the State Pension age, you may be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance.

Elderly person using laptop 

Other discounts and benefits available to senior citizens

There are a lot of discounts and concessions available to those over the State Pension age. Some of these are available to all and some will depend on income or receipt of benefits. These discounts include:

  • A free TV license for over 75s claiming Pension Credit (the license covers the whole household, regardless of the age of anyone else living there)
  • A free bus pass for those over State Pension age, giving access to free off-peak bus travel. Some parts of the country also offer free travel for those aged 60+ on other forms of transport too e.g. the 60+ London Oyster photocard
  • A Senior Railcard, which costs £30 a year, offers people over 60 years of age 33% off rail travel nationally
  • Entertainment discounts for over 60s, such as at Odeon Cinemas’ Silver screenings
  • Free prescriptions for over 60s in England (already free for people of any age in Wales and Scotland)
  • A free NHS sight test every two years for those aged 60+
  • Free NHS dental treatment for those who claim the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit
  • Help with the costs of glasses or contact lenses if claiming the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit
  • Help with travel costs to receive treatment from the NHS for those claiming the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.

You can find out more about discounts for over 60s in the UK, along with taking a look at our money-saving tips for pensioners to ensure you’re accessing all of the financial support you’re entitled to and making any savings that you can.

Elderly person enquiring about personal alarms 

Affordable peace of mind in later life

Designed to assist with independent living and very popular with older adults and their loved ones, our range of personal alarms and elderly fall alarms offer peace of mind, combined with affordable subscriptions and low running costs for our alarm systems.

Our alarm systems have a variety of different features so you can choose the product that works best for you or your elderly loved one’s lifestyle, providing the functionality that suits the individual, which can also help keep costs down.

Our team would love to help you find the right product for your needs, whether you’re looking for yourself or for someone you care about, so you can call us on 0800 085 7371 and you can also view our full range of alarms here.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure