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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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Issue 3 April 2003

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Collecting Retirement Pension

A booklet has been produced informing you of the methods by which you will be able to collect your retirement pension after April 2003.

It was with interest that I learned that you will still be able to collect your benefit at your local post office, as I had thought previously that this might not be the case..

Anyone interested in receiving this booklet should telephone the Post Office helpline on:

08457 22 33 44

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Benefit Entitlements for Older People

Attendance Allowance:

Benefit for people aged 65 or over, intended to help with extra costs arising from illness or disability.

Higher rate: £57.20

Lower rate: £38.30

Disability Living Allowance:

Benefit for people aged under 65, intended to help with extra costs arising from illness or disability.

Care Component Mobility Component

Higher rate: £57.20 Higher rate: £39.95

Middle rate: £38.30 Lower rate: £15.15

Lower rate: £15.15

Income Support [Minimum Income Guarantee] Pension Credit from October 2003:

Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit*

Top up benefits based on income and savings. Standard amounts for people aged 60 or over from April 2003, and Pension Credit appropriate from October 2003.

Single person: £102.10 Couple: £155.80

Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit standard amounts for people aged 65 and over from October 2003.

Single Person: £116.90 Couple: £175.00

Carer's Allowance [formerly Invalid Care Allowance]

A benefit for people who are unable to work full-time because they are caring for a severely disabled person: £43.15

Incapacity benefit:

A contributory benefit for people under state pension age who are unable to work owing to illness or disability.

Long term rate: £72.15

Retirement Pension:

State pension age 60 for women and 65 for men:

Basic rate: £77.45

Wife on husbands contributions: £46.35

Couple on husbands contributions: £123.80

Winter Fuel Payment:

Annual payment for each pensioner household: £200

Christmas Bonus

Allocated per pensioner: £10

*[These rates may be higher for some carers, disabled people and homeowners with certain housing costs.]

The above data on benefits was taken from information supplied by Age Concern [apologies for any misquotes]. However you can get any other information you may require by calling the Age Concern information freephone on: 0800 00 99 66.

You can obtain a free ‘Your Rights' pack by telephoning the above number. They are open seven days a week, from 7am - 7pm.

You can download free information from the website at: www.ageconcern.org.uk

I quote information from an Age Concern leaflet:

‘Every year Age Concern encourages older people to claim millions of pounds in unclaimed benefits by making sure you get the information you need'.

So make sure you're not one of the folk missing out. It only takes a free telephone call.

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Scottish Pensioners Forum

Hustings Conference - Glasgow

‘What Our Manifesto Offers the Older People of Scotland'

MSP's in Attendance:

Phyllis White: SNP
Tommy Sheridan: SSP
Pauline M'Neil: Labour
Bill Aitken: Conservative
Robin Harper: Green

My apologies. I thought I had written down the names of all the MSP's, but on reading my notes I have inadvertently not noted down the Liberal MSP.

The conference was divided into two parts. Each politician gave their parties policies on pensioner issues. There was a break for coffee, and then a question and answer session.

The question and answer session was certainly the liveliest part of the day. It was evident that there will be lots of questions on all pensioners issues up to the Scottish May elections.

It was with interest that I noted from one of the leaflets handed out that a group of people have formed a Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party.

There was certainly plenty of ‘gray power' present at this meeting.

Transco Emergency Number

A leaflet from Transco contained information about a free emergency telephone number that I thought those of you amongst us who have gas supplies might be interested in having to hand. This service operates 24 hours a day. They are responsible for repairing gas leaks inside the home and out.

They can be contacted on: 0800 111 999

Mae Stewart

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