As I said on the introduction page, the rules for older people are very different - and normally more generous - from those for middle aged and young people. It’s therefore very important to know whether the government treats you as being an older person or not.
For some people this is easy:
- If you are 59 or younger you are definitely NOT an older person
- If you are 65 or older, you definitely ARE an older person
Unfortunately for everyone else things are a bit more complicated.
This is because the government is gradually raising the age women must be until they can get a state pension: it used to be 60 but by November 2018 it will be 65, the same as men.
This isn’t just important for your state pension. This is because if you’re a woman, you only get to be entitled to older people’s income based benefits when you are old enough to get a state pension.
But what if you’re a man? Well, you can’t get your state pension until you’re 65. This is as it’s been since the year dot. To work out when you become entitled to older people’s income based benefits you need to pretend you are a woman(!), and ask yourself ‘if I were a woman, how old would I have to be to claim my state pension?’ That is the age you have to be to claim older people’s income based benefits.
If you’re approaching 60 and want to know when you will be able to claim a state pension, and how old you will be then, the government has provided a calculator, which is quite easy to use, at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension/y/age
This also tells you when you will be able to claim older person’s income based benefits: note that if you are a man this will not be the same as when you are able to claim a pension. Here is a table to give you a rough idea of what to expect (obviously if your date of birth is neither 6th November nor 6th May your figures will be somewhere in between).
|Date of Birth
||You can apply for income based benefits for older people from
||At which point your age will be
|6th November 1951
||6th July 2013
||61 years and 8 months
|6th May 1952
||6th July 2014
||62 years and 2 months
|6th November 1952
||6th July 2015
||62 years and 8 months
|6th May 1953
||6th November 2016
||63 years and 6 months
|6th November 1953
||6th November 2018
|If you are a woman you will also be able to apply for a state
pension from this date.
|If you are a man you will have to wait until you are 65 before
you can apply for a state pension.
When we get to November 2018 the qualifying age for both the state pension and for income based benefits will be 65 for everyone: after this the qualifying age will increase further, but we don’t need to worry about this yet.
Finally, there’s one other benefit we haven’t considered yet: Attendance Allowance. This is a disability benefit for older people, and can be claimed from the age of 65 onwards. You cannot make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment when you get to 65.
|You’ll notice I haven’t considered the situation facing a couple, where one partner is older than the other. As the effect depends on the benefit in question, I’ll put this issue on one side for now, and look at it properly when we consider each benefit.|