With winter looming older people are once again facing the difficulty of heating their home, buying groceries and paying their bills.
These hardships are compounded by the fact that benefits are unclaimed in Northern Ireland and pensioners are struggling to get by because they are not in receipt of the benefits they are entitled to.
Every year in Northern Ireland, almost £200m of benefits that older people are entitled to go unclaimed - including Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Lone Pensioner Allowance.
Age Concern Causeway provide a FREE benefit entitlement check to identify whether individuals are entitled to any government benefits and a FREE support service to help people complete their benefit forms.
Age Concern Causeway can help to alleviate some of the difficulties associated with benefits. Individuals may not take up benefits for several reasons:
The benefit system is too complicated – our benefit advisor will help you to work out your entitlement
The forms are too complicated – our volunteers will help you to complete them
I have too much money – some benefits have high thresholds particularly those with premiums – you might just be surprised!
They might take money off me – our service is free and confidential, we inform you if there is an entitlement to benefits and do not pass information over without consent
Here is a very quick guide to some benefits you may be entitled to:
Attendance Allowance – if you are 65 or over and you COULD benefit from help with personal care, such as getting washed or dressed, or supervision to keep you safe during the day OR night and you have needed help for at least 6 months. Claiming Attendance Allowance won’t reduce any other income you receive, it’s tax-free. If you’re awarded it, you MAY become entitled to other benefits such as pension credit. The weekly low rate of this benefit is £54.45 and the high rate is £81.30. If you are under 65 you may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance which also takes account of mobility difficulties outside of the home.
Pension Credit – means tested (income and savings based) benefit which tops up an individual’s income to a set amount. There are also premiums (further top ups) that increase the pension credit limit to a higher set amount.
Lone Pensioner Allowance – a 20% reduction in your rates if you are 70 or over, live on your own and pay rates.
These are just some of the financial benefits that people are entitled to there are other scheme and services that you may not be aware of: Boiler Replacement Scheme, Warm Home Scheme, Home Safety Check, Blue Badge scheme etc.
If you are over the age of 55 and you would like a benefit check or require support completing a form then please contact Steve on 02870357966.
Age Concern Causeway would like to acknowledge the support and funding they have received from the Big Lottery Fund which has helped to make this possible.