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What Can You Claim?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 May 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Retirement Benefits Retirement

Once you retire, the chances are that unless you have made provisions such as a private pension, savings, bonds or invested in things like annuities, your monthly income is going to be considerably lower than it was when you were working.

However, the important thing to remember is that you might be entitled to additional state payments and benefits which can add up to a considerable sum and make your retirement more financially comfortable so it's important to contact your local Department of Work and Pensions so that they can assess your circumstances and determine if you qualify for additional state help.

Pensions

You will automatically be entitled to the basic state pension if you have made enough National Insurance contributions during the years in which you've been working and you can also apply for Pension Credit and, if you're eligible, this will provide an additional source of income on top of any basic state pension you're entitled to but this is always means tested.

You might also be eligible to receive a second state pension which used to be commonly referred to as SERPS but was replaced by another similar scheme in 2002 called S2P. There are various conditions to this in order to qualify but it's worth enquiring about to see if you're eligible if you're not sure.

For those who are aged 80 or over, you may be entitled to the Over 80 pension even if you've never qualified for the basic state pension.

Allowances and Other Payments

If you're on a relatively low income, you may also qualify to receive a one off regular annual lump sum payment to help you with the increase in the cost of your fuel bills during winter. There is an additional benefit you may be entitled to if the winter weather is extremely severe and these payments are made to you automatically once you've registered first and your eligibility has been established. Further state help is also available in the form of a grant which can enable you to make improvements to the insulation of your home which can also sometimes include installing central heating if your income is low and you qualify.

If you rent your home, you may be eligible to receive housing benefit to help you with your rent costs and, you may also be entitled to council tax benefit even if you are a homeowner.

If you have a disability or you care for someone who's disabled you may be able to claim disability allowance and carer's allowance and once you reach retirement age you qualify for free prescriptions, eye tests and help with dental costs should you need them as well as a bus or train pass to help you get around on public transport for free or at reduced costs during peak travel times.

There are certain benefits you can also claim if you have been widowed or your civil partner has died but you must be eligible to qualify and meet the criteria and don't forget your tax free allowances. Everybody is entitled to an allowance, including people who have retired so you can be sure that any interest on savings are not all going to be swallowed up by the Inland Revenue.

There are also other kinds of help in the form of loans and grants which can help you when it comes to having to buy essential household items such as beds, furniture and appliances for cooking and heating, along with clothing if things are desperate and you've nowhere else to turn to for financial help and this can also include things such as funeral expenses for a loved one if you haven't got the money to pay for it yourself.

For more information on what benefits and payments you might be entitled to in retirement, visit the Department of Work and Pensions website. But let's end on a brighter note.

In addition to there being many things you can claim for, it's good to know that you no longer need to pay for your TV licence once you reach 75 and you get a reduction on it the year before. What's more, if you receive certain state benefits, you even get an automatic £10 bonus payment at Christmas!

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