We help our homeowners claim over £600k
06 August 2013
Through our in-house benefits advice service, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve helped over 200 customers in the past 12 months find unclaimed benefits totalling more than £600k and we’ve also spoken to over 800 people about their benefit entitlement in the same period.
With figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) indicating that up to £2.8bn* in pension credit is not taken up, it is thought that about one in three of those eligible are still not claiming it.
Our in-house benefits advice service is provided through requests made through our sales teams and is free of charge, there is no cost to the homeowner, just the chance of a positive outcome.
Here are our tips to anyone over the age of 65 to check if they are entitled to more financial support. Even if you’re not eligible now, remember you may be entitled to receive certain benefits once you have moved into a McCarthy & Stone property, or if your situation changes in the future.
- Guaranteed Pension Credit
There are two elements of pension credit – Guaranteed Credit and Savings credit, so you may be entitled to receive one or both of them. Guaranteed Pension Credit may be paid when you reach the qualifying age. It tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum if it’s below £145.40, or £222.05 for a couple. These figures can also increase if in receipt of disability/careers benefits and/or if you are liable for ground rent and service charges.
- Savings Credit
Savings Credit is an extra payment for those who have saved some money towards their retirement for example a pension and you may be able to get it if you are aged 65 or over. You may also be entitled to Savings Credit as well as Guaranteed Pension Credit. This could be worth up to £18.06 per week for single people, or £22.89 for couples.
- Attendance Allowance
Attendance Allowance is one of most frequent benefits people fail to claim. This is a non-taxable benefit for people living at home aged 65 and over who need someone to help look after them because they are physically or mentally disabled and is a non-means tested benefit.
The name given to this entitlement is confusing as it implies that you need to have someone actually looking after you at home to benefit. This is certainly not the case. A typical successful applicant for this entitlement will be over 65 years of age who through illness or disability occurring for at least the last 6 months requires help with personal care, support or supervision. What matters is that you need the help, not whether you are actually receiving it.
There is not a list of illnesses or disabilities which determine who will and who will not receive the Attendance Allowance but special rules do apply for certain conditions including blind and terminally ill applicants. Successful eligible applicants can receive £53 paid weekly, often if needs are limited to day time and £79.15 weekly if your needs are for day and night. Applicants have to submit an Attendance Allowance Claims Pack which we can help with.
- Council Tax Benefit
This may be met in full if you qualify for the Guaranteed Pension Credit. There are possible discounts if you have a low income and you can receive a 25% discount if you live on your own. You may be entitled to a reduction in Council Tax if you are disabled or have a disabled person living with you.
- Personal Independence Payment/Severe Disability Premium
Personal Independent Payment is a non-taxable benefit for people who have become disabled and make a claim before 65. It is non-means tested. Severe Disability Premium, if you receive a qualifying benefit such as Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment you may also qualify for a premium on top of the basic personal allowance known as Severe Disability Premium.
Most of the people we give advice to have never claimed anything from the Government in their life, but we explain that they’re entitled to investigate their options. It can make a real difference to many who have been struggling to meet the rising cost of living and didn’t know they could get some extra help.
Any homeowners who live in a McCarthy & Stone apartment can arrange a free and confidential review of the benefits they are entitled to by contacting me on a Freephone number 0800 027 2445.
*Figures from DWP, latest figures refer to 2009-10.