People over state pension age may be struggling with the rising cost of living. However, there are freebies, discounts and payments which could provide important help to millions.
Cost of living payments
Pensioners should have already received their Winter Fuel Payment for this winter, however, more support is due in 2023.
A 2023 pensioner payment has been confirmed to hit eligible bank accounts during winter 2023/24. The direct payment will be worth £300 to eligible people.
In addition, those eligible for Pension Credit could be entitled to another £900 low income cost of living payment – with 1.4million pensioner households expected to qualify.
The first payment is due in spring 2023, and will be £301, the Government has confirmed.
The benefit could help those of state pension age who are on a low income, and the Government states it could be worth over £3,500 per year.
The sum provides hard-up pensioners with extra money to help with their living costs.
Currently, Pension Credit tops up weekly income to £182.60 for single people, and joint weekly income to £278.70 for those with a partner.
However, the payment is set to rise by 10.1 percent from April 2023, reflecting September 2022’s CPI inflation figure – so eligible people can expect to receive more.
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Free TV Licence
While this entitlement used to be available to all over 75s, the rules have changed since 2020.
Now, over 75s must usually be in receipt of Pension Credit in order to receive this entitlement.
A free TV licence could help eligible older people save up to £159 per year – the cost of the licence fee.
People will not need a TV licence if they never watch live television on any channel or service and don’t watch BBC iPlayer.
Free bus pass
In England, people can get a free older person’s bus pass once they reach the state pension age.
In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the free bus pass is usually available at the age of 60.
In England, the free prescription age is 60, and at this point the £9.35 per item charge will not apply.
Free prescriptions are available to people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, regardless of age or circumstance. Meanwhile, those in England under free prescription age may be eligible for free prescriptions via other exemptions.
Over 60s will be able to get rail travel at a discounted price, which could help them with getting out and about.
A Senior Railcard could secure individuals 1/3 off rail fares, and there are often special offers available on railcards also.
People can apply for a Senior Railcard up to 14 days before their 60th birthday, and could get this digitally or physically.
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National Express offers a Senior Coachcard to pensioners which may also prove useful. It provides 1/3 off standard and flexible fares right across the country to help with long and short journeys.
National Insurance cut
Those who have reached state pension age will no longer have to pay National Insurance – even if they decide to continue working.
National Insurance at this age will only be paid by self-employed people who pay Class 4 contributions.
The Government explains: “You stop paying Class 4 contributions at the end of the tax year in which you reach state pension age.”
It would mean an earner on £30,000 would save nearly £2,400 in the current tax year, according to Which?.
Individuals only pay income tax at this point if their taxable income – including state pension and private pension – is more than one’s tax-free allowance.
Other ‘freebies’ pensioners may be able to secure are as follows:
- Housing Benefit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- Help with heating costs.
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