State pension age rise could see over 60s wait for benefits

Kwarteng says UK ‘committed’ to helping pensioners

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During this week’s Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Liz Truss refused to rule on other further changes to the state pension age in an attempt to balance the country’s books. When asked whether she will hike the retirement age threshold higher than 67, she said: “You’re asking me to speculate all kinds of decisions that haven’t yet been made.” If this were to happen, over 60s in the UK will have to wait even longer for freebie benefits linked with the state pension, such as the free bus pass in England and Pension Credit.

What benefits are state pensioners eligible for?

In England, over 60s are able to claim a free bus pass once they turn the current state pension age, which is 66. Some people in parts of England may be able to get it earlier than state pension age.

This freebie benefit has long assisted older people with their travel expenses as bus and train fares continue to rise.

Furthermore, those who reach this milestone age can claim Pension Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Pension Credit is a benefit payment designed to boost the income of state pensioners who are on low income.

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As it stands, claimants of this DWP payment get their weekly income topped up to £182.60 if they are single and £278.70 if they have a partner.

During the current cost of living crisis, pensioners are also entitled to an extra £300 cost of living payment to pay for their energy bills and inflation-hiked grocery prices.

On top of this, eligible people who get Pension Credit have been able to get the Government £650 cost of living payment for those on means-tested benefits.

However, access to much of this support is dependent on someone having reached the state pension age.

Here is a full list of the other freebie benefits which are available to those who become state pensioners:

  • Reduction in council tax bills
  • Capped water bills
  • £140 Warm Home Discount scheme
  • £25 Cold Weather Payment scheme
  • Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
  • Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler
  • Homeowners can get help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme
  • £300 Winter Fuel Payments
  • Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS
  • Housing cost financial help
  • Funeral cost financial help
  • Bereavement support payments
  • Court fee reduction
  • Cost of Living support payments
  • A free TV licence if over 75 years old claim Pension Credit

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Age UK carried out a report on the rising state pension age and its impact on linked freebie benefits, such as Pension Credit and the free bus pass.

Specifically, this study cited the alignment between the state pension age for women with the retirement age for men.

For decades, women were able to claim their state pension payments from the age of 60 however this has since changed.

The report stated: “The rise in state pension age also affects a range of other support and benefits, such as Pension Credit, which are currently linked to the age at which women can draw their state pension.

“The focus of the debate about equalisation has understandably been on women having to wait longer for their state pension but this also affects the age at which people can receive pensioner means-tested benefits.

“Support for older people on low incomes from Pension Credit and other benefits is not lavish but it is generally higher than the level of means-tested support for younger people.

“And those below women’s state pension age do not receive certain other benefits that are highly valued by many older people such as the Winter Fuel Payment.”

Currently, the state pension age is expected to rise to 67 years old sometime between 2026 and 2028.

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