Your state pension will accumulate throughout your career as long as you have paid National Insurance contributions. The maximum amount you can get per week is £125.95 (as of April 2018).
The basic state pension goes up annually depending on economic growth in the UK and the average earnings. It will go up at least by 2.5%.
When can I claim my state pension?
If you are a man who was born before 6th April 1951, you can claim your state pension now. Similarly, if you are a woman who was born before 6th April 1953, you can also claim your state pension now.
The state pension age always seems to be changing but as of April 2018, men need to be 67 and women need to be 65 before claiming their state pension. For people born after 1978, the state pension age will likely be around 68.
Pension Credit is available to people who are at state pension age but living on a low income. Pension Credit is means-tested and will vary depending on your income. It is split into two parts:
- Guarantee Credit: this tops up your weekly pension to a certain guaranteed level.
- Savings Credit: this is for people who have a small amount if income or savings to live off.
You can be entitled to just one component, or both of them together. Pension Credit can be claimed even if you are still working when you hit pension age, even if you have not paid any National Insurance contributions.
You may also be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction to help alleviate costs. Even if you weren’t entitled to these benefits before, you may be once you hit pension age. You can also claim a Winter Fuel Payment to keep your house warm. For more information on this, read this blog post.
Bus Passes for Pensioners
One of the main things that are still claimed by people who have reached pension age (even if they are still working) is a bus pass. This gives you free travel on buses all over the country. You can claim this as soon as you reach the pension age.
You may also be able to receive travel concessions on other kinds of public transport, i.e. trains.
People over the age of 60 in the UK are entitled to free prescriptions. For people with serious medical conditions (whether they are physical or mental), the NHS may be able to provide care completely free of charge.
For further details on NHS continuing care, read this.
What’s available for people with disabilities, or people caring for a disabled person?
Your benefits entitlement will change if you reach state pension age and are disabled or caring for someone who is disabled.
For instance, you will not be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) once you reach state pension age, and any Carer’s Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance will also be affected by the amount of state pension you receive.
Take a look at what help is available to disabled people here.
These are just a few examples of what is available to older people in the UK, but there are other benefits for more specific reasons or new benefits being introduced. It’s always worth checking with the Citizens Advice Bureau to check that you are getting the benefits that you are entitled to as a pensioner. If you have any other questions or queries about certain benefits or schemes that you’d like more information on, then let us know in the comments below!