Benefits advice

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to certain benefits and allowances.

Housing & Care 21 is able to signpost and  provide advice, information and assistance about benefits and allowances.

It’s a fact that a lot of older people are missing out on benefits that they are entitled to. Housing & Care 21 can help guide you through the benefits system to ensure you receive benefits that you are entitled to.

The main benefits that you may be interested in are:

  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • The Warm Homes Discount

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit available to people over the qualifying age. The Pension Credit qualifying age is based on the age at which a woman would reach retirement age, and applies to both men and women.

Pension Credit qualifying age is gradually increasing in line with the age at which a woman will reach retirement age. To find out the age at which you can get Pension Credit, use the GOV.UK State Pension Calculator

Pension Credit is made up of 2 parts - the Guarantee Credit and the Savings Credit. Depending on your age, income and any capital or savings you have you may be entitled to one or both of these elements. 

The GOV.UK website has more information about Pension Credit and eligibility.

Making a claim 

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Pension Credit is by phone. A friend or family member can call for you, but you must be with them when they make the call.

Pension Credit helpline
Phone: 0800 99 1234
Textphone: 0800 169 0133

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is an income-related benefit that is calculated and paid by your local council to help with housing costs, such as rent and service charges.

If you have more than £16,000 in savings you won’t be eligible for Housing Benefit unless you are receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. 

If you have less than £16,000 in savings you may be eligible to receive some Housing Benefit, depending on your other income and circumstances.

You can find more information about Housing Benefit and eligibility on the GOV.UK website, or by contacting the Housing Benefit department at your local council.

Making a claim

You need to claim Housing Benefit directly from your local council. You can do this by:

  • contacting your local council and asking them to send you a claim form
  • visiting your local council office to collect a form
  • completing an online application form (if your council offers this service)

Council Tax Reduction 

Council Tax Reduction is an income-related benefit that is calculated and paid by your local council to help reduce the amount of your Council Tax bill.

Making a claim

Local councils are able to develop their own Council Tax Reduction schemes. You can apply for a Council Tax Reduction online.

Your local council will use one application form for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction – this means that you don’t need to apply separately for these benefits if you are applying for Housing Benefit, your eligibility for Council Tax Reduction will be assessed at the same time.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit that is payable to people who are aged 65 or over and who have health problems that affect them significantly in their everyday life when they are at home.

Attendance Allowance doesn’t take into consideration any problems outside of the home. The health problems can be physical health problems, mental health problems or a combination of the two.

Despite the name, you don’t need anyone attending to you or caring for you to be eligible to claim Attendance Allowance.

Normally you will need to have had the health problems for at least six months before a claim can be paid - the exception to this is in the case of a terminal illness where life expectancy is not likely to exceed six months. In these cases, the claim will be paid immediately.

Attendance Allowance is non-means tested. This means that your financial circumstances will not be assessed, and any entitlement is based on your health problems and how these health problems affect you in everyday life at home.

Attendance Allowance is tax-free and is disregarded as income when other benefits are calculated, which means any other benefits you already receive won’t be reduced by you being awarded Attendance Allowance.

The GOV.UK website has more information about Attendance Allowance and eligibility.

Making a claim

Attendance Allowance helpline
Phone: 0345 605 6055 
Textphone: 0345 604 5312

You can call the helpline to ask for a claim pack to be sent in the post.

You can also download an Attendance Allowance claim form online.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment replaced Disability Living Allowance for new claimants from June 2013.

Personal Independence Payment is payable to people who are aged between 16 and 64 years old when they claim, and who have health problems that affect them significantly in their everyday life. 

If you were already receiving Disability Living Allowance before the introduction of Personal Independence Payment and you were aged under 65 on April 8 2013, your claim will eventually be reassessed under the new rules. The reassessment of existing Disability Living Allowance claims for this group of people is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

You don’t need to do anything until the Department for Work and Pensions contact you to advise you that you need to apply under the new rules. Until this point, you’ll continue to receive Disability Living Allowance as normal.

People who were already receiving Disability Living Allowance who were over 65 on April 8 2013 will continue to receive it. There are currently no plans to reassess this age group.

The GOV.UK website has more information about the Personal Independence Payment

Making a claim 

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Personal Independence Payment is by phone. A friend or family member can call for you, but you must be with them when they make the call. 

DWP - Personal Independence Payment claims
Phone: 0800 917 2222 
Textphone: 0800 917 7777 

You can also write asking for a form to be sent to you by post, but this can delay the decision on your claim:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims 
Post Handling Site B 
Wolverhampton 
WV99 1AH

The Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount is a reduction on your electricity bill that can be awarded depending on your circumstances.

To be eligible for the Warm Home Discount:

  • your electricity supplier has to be part of the scheme
  • your name must be on the electricity bill
  • you must be receiving Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

If you are eligible you’ll automatically be awarded the discount – you don’t need to make a claim. The discount isn’t paid to you directly, but is credited directly to your electricity bill to reduce the amount you have to pay.

Even if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for automatic entitlement to the Warm Home Discount you may still be able to get a discount. Some electricity suppliers can offer discounts to vulnerable people. Contact your electricity supplier to find out what may be available to you.

The GOV.UK website has more information about the Warm Home Discount, including how you will be notified if you are awarded the discount.

Further information about welfare benefits

It’s always best to check that you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to. You can do this by:

  • Talking to your court manager, who will be able to advise and signpost to where you can get further information and advice
  • Contacting independent agencies such as AgeUK and the Citizens Advice Bureau