Members Information and Resources
Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired
members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus. Please note
that this is not definitive information about benefits but will
provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information.
Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility
for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.
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Winter guide - Age Concern
The information below was taken from the Age Concern
Website. My apology for any misquotes. For information on any
of the topics below telephone: Freephone Information
Line on: 0800 00 99 66 or Visit the website at: www.ageconcern.org.uk
Issue 15 September 2007
Issue 14 January 2007
Issue 13 May 2006
Issue 12 April 2006
Issue 11 March 2006
Issue 10 May 2005
9 March/April 2005
Issue 8 Jan/Feb 2005
Issue 7 July 2004
Special Issue December 2003
Issue 5 July 2003
Issue 4 May /June 2003
Issue 3 April 2003
Issue 2 Dec 2002
Issue 1 Summer 2002
Help line Updates:
For Benefits Agency queries see
Benefit Enquiry Line [BEL] for People with Disabilities,
Their Carers, and Representatives.
There are more than 900 advisors based in BEL offices.
BEL advisers give general advice on all social security benefits,
and not just disability benefits.
Telephone BEL on: 0800 88 22 00
Dedicated number for customers with hearing or speech
Telephone BEL on: 0800 24 33 55
These offices are open Monday - Friday from 8.30am
to 6.30pm. And on Saturdays from 9.00am - 1.00pm.
Disability Living Allowance [DLA] & Attendance
Allowance [AA] Help line
These lines offer advice on; taking details of change
in circumstances. Updating customers of their claim or appeal.
Telephone: 08457 123 456
Dedicated number for customers with hearing
or speech difficulties.
Telephone: 08457 22 44 33
Lines are open Monday - Friday from 7.30am to
6.30pm, and calls are charged at local rates.
& Resources Index
*** NB *** Pension Credit:
[Taken from Age Concern book entitled ‘Your Rights
2002 - 2003]
The Pension Credit is due to be introduced in October
2003, and will provide additional cash to people who have saved.
A summary of how it is expected to work is given
here. It will consist of two parts - the ‘guarantee credit' and
the ‘savings credit'.
The guarantee credit will replace Income Support
for people aged 60 or over [Minimum Income Guarantee]. Like Income
Support, the guarantee credit will top someone's income up to
a set amount, which is expected to be around £100 for a
single person, and £154 for a couple in 2003. There will
also be extra amounts for severely disabled people, careers, in
line with the current system.
The savings credit, which will be available to people
aged 65 and over, will provide extra cash to those who have income
of more than the level of the ‘savings credit threshold', which
is expected to be around the level of the Basic State Pension
[BSP] in 2003. It will therefore help people on modest incomes
who have an income in addition to the Basic State Pension, such
as occupational pensions, the State Additional Pension, or Income
People with an income of more than the BSP [expected
to be around £77 for a single person and £123 for
a couple in 2003], but less than the guarantee level, will receive
an additional 60 pence for every £1 over the Basic Pension
People with income above the guarantee level may
also benefit from the savings credit. Single people with an income
of between £100 and £134 are expected to receive between
a maximum of £13.80 and a minimum of 20 pence, while couples
with incomes of between £134 and £200 will gain between
£18.60 and a minimum of 20 pence.
As with the current system, the first £6,000
of savings will be ignored, but the upper limit will be removed.
Currently savings of above £6,000 are assumed to produce
an income of £1 for every £250 - equivalent of a return
of about 20% - but under the new system this will be changed so
that an assumed return will be around 10%. The new system of assumed
income will also apply to Housing and Council Tax Benefit for
people aged 60 or over but for these benefits the £16,000
upper limit will be retained except for those entitled to the
There will also be administrative changes - for
example it is expected that for most people aged 65 and over a
claim will normally last 5 years. Their circumstances will be
reviewed at the end of this period. During this period only major
changes will need to be notified, although people will be able
to request a reassessment if their entitlement is likely to have
These changes are also expected to apply from April
2003 to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims for people
aged 65 and over.
At the time of writing, Parliament was still considering
the proposals, so there may be changes.
For more information contact Age Concern England
on free phone 0800 00 99 66
& Resources Index
Members Information on State Benefits
1 Disability Premium:
This is given to disabled people under 60. To be
counted as ‘ disabled' you must normally be getting a disability
benefit such as Disability Living Allowance [any level or component],
Severe Disablement Allowance, or the long term rate of Incapacity
Benefit, or be registered blind. For a couple, only one of you
needs to fulfill these conditions. The rates are:
Single person: £23.00
People may also be able to receive the disability
premium in some situations where they have not been able to work
for at least 52 weeks, but do not receive one of the disability
benefits listed above.
2 Enhanced Disability Premium:
This premium was introduced in April 2001. It is
awarded to people under the age of 60 who are in receipt of the
highest level of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
It is awarded in addition to the disability premium. The rates
Single person: £11.25
3 Severe Disability Premium:
Single people will get this provided the ‘live alone'
[but see below for exceptions] and receive Attendance Allowance,
or the middle or highest level of the care component of Disability
Living Allowance [DLA}, with no one receiving Invalid Care Allowance
for looking after them.
However, there are exceptions to the living alone
rule, for example, you can still get this premium if you live
with someone who also gets Attendance Allowance [or the middle
or highest level of the care
component of DLA], or with someone who is registered
blind, or with a paid helper supplied by a charity, or in some
cases where you are a joint tenant or a joint owner, and share
the housing costs.
If you are not sure you qualify, seek further
advice, as the rules can be complicated.
If you have a partner and you receive Attendance
Allowance [or the middle or highest level of the care component
of DLA], you will not normally be able to receive this
premium because you will not be counted as ‘living alone'.
However, you can receive this premium if:
Your partner also gets Attendance Allowance
[or the middle or highest level of the care component of DLA],
or he or she is registered blind; and
No one receives Invalid Care Allowance for
looking after you; and
You ‘live alone' as described above.
If your partner also receives Attendance Allowance
[or the middle or highest level of the care component of DLA],
and neither of you has a carer receiving Invalid Care Allowance,
you will receive the double rate. The rates are:
Single person: £42.25
Couple, one person qualifying: £42.25
Couple, both qualifying: £84.50
Remember that severe disability premium
can be awarded on top of the disability, enhanced disability,
and pensioner premiums.
Information on all of the above
should be available at benefits offices. You can get this
by looking through the local telephone book to obtain the
free phone number. Or possibly through the new National Health
Help line on all Health Issues: telephone on 0800 22 44 88
Information & Resources
How to Claim Income Support:
You can obtain a claim form from the local social
security office by calling in, writing, or telephoning, or you
can ring the Minimum Income Guarantee help line on: 0800 028
Staff at the MIG office may be able to help you
fill in your form over the telephone.
You can also seek advice from Citizens Advice or
Welfare rights agency. Both will be listed in the telephone book.
Excerpt from Scottish Seniors Newsletter [ Scottish
Pensioners' Forum - Issue 2 - September 2002] £2 Billion
Unclaimed in UK
Scottish Pensioners Forum Website
A pilot study was undertaken recently in Dumfries,
where 150 pensioners were visited by social workers, to check
if they had all relevant benefits.
Around two thirds of those visited were not claiming
their entitlement and were able to increase their income considerably,
following professional advice.
If this type of study was carried out in other areas
of the country, we are sure these figures would be typical.
Age Concern recently started a benefits checking
project. For further details contact David Brownlee on: 0131
625 9332 [ You see! You never know! So if in doubt - get dialing]
& Resources Index
I don't know about you, but this speaking in hieroglyphics
drives me nuts. It drove me nuts when I worked and as I worked
in computing, and it was an integral part of my life there, but
it still drove me nuts.
To that end, when I was reading through the AGSB
[or Age Concern Scotland Book to you] from where the above information
is taken I discovered that a few of the old names have been changed
to new. I've listed a glossary of some of the titles below. You
might find this of some use if you are reading/filling in forms.
Old Name New Name
JSA - Jobseeker's
BO - Benefits Office JPO
- Jobcentre Plus Office
ICA - Invalid Care
HRP - Home Responsibilities Protection
SERPS - State Earnings Related Pension Scheme S2P
- State Second Pension
IS - Income Support MIG - Minimum
IB - Incapacity
WD - Widow/ers Pensions BA -
DWP - Department
for Works & Pensions
SF - Social Fund [one of payment]
AA - Attendance Allowance
DLA - Disability Living Allowance
ICA - Invalid Care Allowance
DPTC - Disabled Persons Tax Allowance
BSP - Basic State Pension
Most of the information stated above are excerpts
from an Age Concern Book entitled: Your Rights 2002 -2003. I have
edited the information as carefully as possible, but tender apologies
to Age Concern for any misquotes. You can obtain this book, containing
full information, from Age Concern Scotland, by telephoning
0131 220 3345. This book costs £4.75.
& Resources Index
Do You Want to Make a Difference?
[excerpt from a magazine called forum to forum]
The search is on for people aged 55 or over with
some time to spare to make a difference in their community.
Help the Aged, through the Millennium Commission,
is awarding special citizenship grants to individuals or groups
of up to three people to fund anything from belly dancing to projects
dedicated to sprucing up a village green.
Eighty percent of people would like to make
a difference to their community, but do not have the necessary
A recent survey shows just eleven percent
of older people are currently actively involved in voluntary
One Citizen Action Millennium Awards [CAMA] grant
has been awarded to three people from Bridlingtone in East Yorkshire
to establish an advocacy service for vulnerable older people in
their area. Through other voluntary work, they realized that many
pensioners were not claiming the full benefits or services they
were entitled to, and were determined to work on their behalf.
Awards have also been granted to a person from Monmouthshire
who wants to raise awareness of environmental issues, and three
people from Leicestershire who plan to visit older people in their
homes and teach them basic IT skills, including use of the internet.
Information on how to apply for a CAMA grant
is available by telephoning:
0870 7703280 [between the hours of 9.30am and
3.30pm - Monday to Friday].
Or by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org