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Dive Deeper:
Changes to DWP pension age means older people can't claim some benefits when they reach state pension age
Changes to the state pension age will increase it to 67 for people born on or after 1960, this could…
Older people can no longer claim these DWP benefits when they reach State Pension age
There are two benefits you may be eligible to claim now that could carry over when you reach 66.
People claiming new disability payment may also be eligible for wide range of extra support
An award for Adult Disability Payment could lead to benefit top-ups, travel discounts and Council Tax reductions.
People on PIP moving to new disability benefits system may need to report change to DWP
You may also have to contact your local authority if you currently get support for housing or Council Tax.
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DWP launches new service allowing people to make or manage someone else's claim
They will also be able to inform DWP about changes in the claimant’s living situation.
Martin Lewis urges seven million people to do ten minute benefits check
Financial expert Martin Lewis has said that seven million people across the UK are not getting benefits they are entitled…
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Boost your income before summer by claiming benefits, discounts or reductions

By Linda Howard

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that 88 per cent of adults have reported a rise in their cost of living over the past four weeks.

However the ONS said it represents a small decline after 91 per cent of people highlighted increases in a previous survey last month. It said the rising cost of living was primarily driven by more expensive food, with 92 per cent of people reporting a rise in the price of their supermarket shopping.

The ONS also said it saw an increase in the number of people who said they bought less food while shopping, with 41 per cent of adults saying they have trimmed back their grocery shop to combat rising costs.

If you are worried about managing your money, one of the first things to do after reviewing your financial situation is to make sure you’re claiming all the money you’re entitled to.

While many people mistakenly believe there is a stigma attached to claiming benefits, it’s worthwhile noting that an estimated £15billion state support from the DWP went unclaimed over the last year.

There are several ways to boost your finances, but you will need to invest a bit of time for some of them - however, doing these now could make 2022 a bit easier.

Universal Credit

The obvious one to check your eligibility for is Universal Credit which is designed to help households on a low income or out of work.

Recent changes to the taper rate and the work allowance rules means that the DWP estimates more than 500,000 people could now be eligible for the monthly support - find out more here.

How to claim Universal Credit

The UK Government states that a person may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • You are on a low-income or out of work

  • You are 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)

  • You are under State Pension age (or your partner is)

  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you

  • You live in the UK

If you live with your partner, their income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.

It is worth noting that you won't be able to get any of the means-tested benefits if your capital and savings amount to more than the upper limit of £16,000.

These include:

  • Universal Credit

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit

However, your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming ‘New Style’ Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and this particular benefit can be obtained at the same time as Universal Credit - or on its own.

‘New Style’ JSA is a contribution-based benefit. This means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the two full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.

It is paid fortnightly and if you qualify, you can get 'New Style' JSA for up to 182 days.

If you qualify for both ‘New Style’ JSA and Universal Credit, any ‘New Style’ JSA you receive will be taken into account as income for Universal Credit.

To make a claim for Universal Credit, visit the gov.uk website here and for more information on claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, read more here.

Universal Credit payment rates (monthly rates shown)

Standard allowance

Single

  • Single under 25: £265.31

  • Single 25 or over: £334.91

Couple

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £416.45

  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £525.72

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Who can claim: People over 16 and under State Pension age

How much it’s worth: Between £97.80 and £627.60 every four weeks

What is it: A benefit delivered by the DWP to people with a long-term illness, disability or physical or mental health condition - including an ever-growing range of hidden conditions and long-term Covid.

PIP is non-means tested, tax-free and available to those in and out of work, it can also be claimed on top of other benefits as it is not affected by the benefits cap - find out more here.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Child Disability Payment (Scotland only)

Who can claim: Children under 16

How much it’s worth: Between £97.80 and £627.60 every four weeks

What is it: DLA claimants in Scotland are now being transferred from DWP to the new devolved benefit, Child Disability Payment being delivered by Social Security Scotland.

Both benefits pay the same rates and have the same eligibility criteria for PIP.

Find out more about DLA here and Child Disability Payment here.

Young people in Scotland receiving PIP (between 16 and 18), DLA or the Child Disability Payment will also receive the Child Winter Heating Assistance annual payment of £202 to help towards energy bills - find out more about it here.

Best Start Foods

Who can claim: If you or your partner are getting certain benefits or Tax Credits, or you or your partner are pregnant, or are the main person looking after a baby or child who's the right age for a payment.

How much it’s worth: The payment is worth £18 during pregnancy and for any children between one and three-years-old. It is £36 for children under the age of one.

What is it: A benefit paid by Social Security Scotland every four weeks on a pre-paid card to buy healthy food including eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables - find out more here.

Best Start Grants

Who can claim: Parents and carers on low incomes.

What is it and how much is it worth: It is made up of three separate payments - the Pregnancy and Baby Payment is - a one-off payment of £606 for a first child or £303 for a second or later child. The Early Learning Payment is a one-off payment of £252.50 if your child is between 2 and 3 1/2 years old. The School Age Payment is a one-off payment of £252.50.

You cannot get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods if you only get Child Benefit - you must still be getting one of the benefits or payments from this list to be able to get Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods - find out more here.

Attendance Allowance

Who can claim: People over State Pension age.

How much it's worth: You will be paid either £61.85 or £92.40 every week.

What is it: A benefit delivered by the DWP that helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. It can also help you stay independent in your own home longer - find out more about claiming Attendance Allowance here.

Carer’s Allowance

Who can claim: People who spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.

How much it's worth: £278.80 every four weeks. In Scotland there are also two additional payments of £245.70 each year as part of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement. The next payment will be in June, to qualify you need to have made a claim for Carer's Allowance on or before April 11.

What is it: A benefit for people who help someone with washing and cooking, taking them to appointments or helping with household tasks such as managing bills and shopping - find out more about Carer’s Allowance and the supplement here.

Pension Credit

Who can claim: People claiming State Pension.

How much it's worth: The figure is determined by a number of factors, including savings, but is potentially worth up to £3,300 per year.

What is it: A benefit delivered by the DWP for older people to help with the costs of retirement. Kt includes additional discounts including a free TV Licence for those over 75 (worth £159), Council Tax Reduction (worth £1,000 to £2,000 per year), Want Homes Discount (worth £140) and more - find out more about Pension Credit here.

Benefits Calculators

These are a quick and easy way to identify any benefits you may be entitled to claim.

They are independent and completely confidential, all you have to do is enter personal and financial details about your current circumstances - find out more about benefits calculators here.

Other ways to boost your income

Council Tax Reductions, Discounts and Exemptions

Council Tax is paid in 10 or 12 equal monthly instalments to your local council, however, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of this annual bill.

These include:

  • If you live alone
  • If you are disabled
  • If you live with someone under 18 or a student
  • If you are a carer
  • If there are major changes to the value of your home

In most cases, reductions in your Council Tax bill could be backdated, so don’t delay making an enquiry.

Find out more details here.

TV Licence discount or refund

TV Licence rules changed last year which means everyone pays for it, including those on State Pension. The only way to avoid the £159 fee is to be aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit.

People who are registered blind are entitled to a half price TV Licence and may be eligible for a refund. When someone with a severe sight impairment applies for a TV Licence they are required to submit evidence of their disability - a blind registration letter is the most common form - and from that TV Licensing may identify an overpayment, especially if you’ve been paying by direct debit, and issue a refund - find out more here.

Claim £252 tax break just for being married or in a civil partnership

HMRC recently announced that nearly 1.8 million married couples and those in civil partnerships are using Marriage Allowance to save up to £252 a year in Income Tax,

Marriage Allowance allows married couples or those in civil partnerships to share their personal tax allowances if one partner earns an income under their Personal Allowance threshold of £12,570 and the other is a starter, basic or intermediate rate taxpayer.

They can transfer 10 per cent of their tax-free allowance to their partner, which is £1,260 in 2023/23.

It means couples can reduce the tax they pay by up to £252 a year and they can backdate their claims for any of the four previous tax years, which could be worth up to a total of £1,220. - find out more here.

To keep up to date with the cost of living crisis, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group here, follow Record Money on Twitter here, or subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter here.

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Dive Deeper:
Changes to DWP pension age means older people can't claim some benefits when they reach state pension age
Changes to the state pension age will increase it to 67 for people born on or after 1960, this could…
Older people can no longer claim these DWP benefits when they reach State Pension age
There are two benefits you may be eligible to claim now that could carry over when you reach 66.
People claiming new disability payment may also be eligible for wide range of extra support
An award for Adult Disability Payment could lead to benefit top-ups, travel discounts and Council Tax reductions.
People on PIP moving to new disability benefits system may need to report change to DWP
You may also have to contact your local authority if you currently get support for housing or Council Tax.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
DWP launches new service allowing people to make or manage someone else's claim
They will also be able to inform DWP about changes in the claimant’s living situation.
Martin Lewis urges seven million people to do ten minute benefits check
Financial expert Martin Lewis has said that seven million people across the UK are not getting benefits they are entitled…
Get all your news in one place