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‘I’m an older person: what am I entitled to?’
> ‘Is there anything else I can get?’

Although a lot of help is available to older people, it can be confusing to work out what they are all are, how old you have to be, and how to get them. This page is designed to try to guide you through all this.

Working age benefits

You cannot get Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance once you reach pension age.

However, this does mean that for men there are a few years between when your entitlement to Pension Credit begins and your entitlement to your pension begins during which you could, if you wanted to, claim Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance instead of Pension Credit?

But why would you want to? I can think of only one good reason. If you are not entitled to any income based benefits, perhaps because of other income or savings, you might still be entitled to contribution based Employment and Support Allowance or contribution based Jobseeker's Allowance. As there is no such thing as contribution based Pension Credit it might be in your interests to claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance in this situation. But I can’t think of any other reasons. (If you can, let me know!)

Income based (means-tested) benefits

Apart from the restrictions to working age benefits I've just mentioned, you are entitled to all the income based benefits that anyone else is entitled to.

Help with heating

There are two kinds of help available here, and it’s important not to get them confused:

Help with disability problems

The key age here is 65. If you are younger than 65 you can claim Personal Independence Payment (or, in the past, Disability Living Allowance). If you are 65 or older you must claim Attendance Allowance.

This is, I think, the only situation where you are treated less generously by the state if you are an older person. In particular, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment pay benefit if you have trouble walking around outside, but Attendance Allowance does not.

If you are getting Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment when you get to the age of 65 it should carry on as before afterwards. However, if your Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment is stopped because a decision maker decides you are not disabled enough, any new claim you make after this would have to be for Attendance Allowance.

I could (and possibly at some time in the future will) give you a lot of information about Attendance Allowance, but the basics can be summed up fairly quickly:

Help with caring for others

If you are caring for someone who is ill or disabled you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, just as a younger person would be. For information about this click here

Other types of help

These are not, strictly speaking, social security benefits, but it doesn’t do any harm to mention them, especially as the ages at which you qualify vary:

icon-key1.jpgIf you are getting the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit you will also be entitled, as well, to help with dental costs, glasses, and some other things.

Welfare Reform

There have been quite a lot of changes to benefits as the result of a recent government drive to save money. However these do not generally effect older people: