State pension UK: NHS support explained as prescriptions age consultation launches

Rishi Sunak grilled by Neil on state pension increases

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State pension age is currently 66 for most people and while many benefits can become available from this age, people in England can currently receive free prescriptions from the age of 60. However, this may change in the future as the Government is currently consulting on increasing the free prescription age to 66.

James Bethell, the Health Minister, commented on this: “We are committed to improving patient care and supporting the NHS with the funding it needs to recover from this pandemic.

“The upper age exemption for free prescriptions used to align with the state pension age, but that link has been lost over the years.

“Prescription charges are an important source of income for the NHS, and the costs of providing free prescriptions continue to increase with our ageing population.

“I encourage anyone with views on our proposals to share them through the consultation response form, available online on GOV.UK.”

As it stands, state pensioners can receive additional support with various NHS costs if they’re on a particularly low income.

State pension aged people may be able to get pension credit, which provides extra money to help with living costs if the claimant is on a low income in retirement.

To be eligible for pension credit, a person must have reached state pension age and have income no higher than £177.10 per week if they’re single,

For couples, the joint income must not exceed £270.30 per week.

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Eligible claimants of pension credit will have their incomes topped up to these levels but on top of this, they may also qualify for additional benefits.

Claimants can also receive additional support if they have a severe disability, care for another adult or child or require help with certain housing costs.

Additionally, pension credit claimants may get help with NHS prescriptions, dental treatments, eye tests and other NHS costs.

To find out what support a person could get through pension credit claims, a pension credit calculator can be found on the Government’s website which will allow users to work out how much support they may get.

Claims for pension credit can be started up to four months before reaching the state pension age.

Pension credit can also be applied for any time after reaching state pension age, but applications can only be backdated by up to three months.

This means a claimant could get up to three months of pension credit in the first payment, if they were eligible during that time.

Claims for pension credit can be made online, over the phone or through the post.

When applying, claimants will need to have the following information for themselves and their partners at the ready:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about any income, savings and investments they have
  • Information about their income, savings and investments on the date they want to backdate their application to

Those applying over the phone or through the post will also need to have their bank account details ready.

Should a claimant disagree with a pension credit decision from the Government they will be able to challenge it under mandatory reconsideration rules.

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