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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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.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 30 April 2010

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Watch the new Age UK TV ad

Age UKAs part of the public launch of Age UK‚ they have started a new TV advertising campaign. Find out how you can watch the new advert featuring actor Brian Cox. They have launched a series of TV adverts to raise public awareness of Age UK‚ what they do‚ how you can support them‚ and how they can help you.

They star several acclaimed actors - Brian Cox‚ Sir Ian McKellan‚ and Eleanor Bron. You can watch the first advert‚ starring Brian Cox by visiting the holding site* at www.ageuk.org.uk. (N.B. if you visit www.ageuk.org.uk now you will only see a holding website; the full new website will go live at this address in early May).

You can also watch an interview with Brian Cox‚ where he explains how he feels about ageing and why he got involved‚ as well as behind the scenes footage from the making of the TV advert‚ which includes interviews with the other actors.

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Age UK Wills and legacies services

There has been some negative media coverage about our Wills Advice Service and legacies fundraising activities recently, says Age UK.

"Age UK would like to reassure anyone considering contacting us for advice about making a Will that we are here to help. Legal Services Age Concern and Help the Aged merged in 2009. Prior to the merger, Age Concern Legal Services - a commercial service offering a variety of paid-for products specifically tailored for older people - provided a Will writing service. This service continues today.

"It is delivered in partnership with law firm Irwin Mitchell. We encourage people to call us to discuss their individual needs and get an accurate price for the service that reflects their personal circumstances. Wills and Legacies Separately to Age Concern Legal Services, the former Help the Aged Wills and Legacies Department also continues to operate in-house at Age UK.

"The Wills and Legacies Department offers free and impartial advice on making a will through the Wills Advice Service. No one is under any obligation to leave a legacy to the Charity, and in fact 90% of people who use the service do not leave a legacy. Information and advice offered through this service is always free.

"If someone indicates that they wish to leave a legacy to the Charity then, in certain circumstances, the Charity may pay for their will to be written as a 'thank you'. The Charity will, in certain circumstances, agree to be appointed as Executor for a person's estate as a 'thank you' for a legacy. In accepting such an appointment the Charity considers, among other factors, whether the value of the legacy is likely to cover the costs involved in the Estate's administration. This is determined by assessing the complexity of the Estate and the wishes the individual wants to have carried out.

"In cases where the Charity does pay for a Will to be written as a 'thank you' for a legacy, Age UK takes instructions and passes them on to solicitors to draw up the Will. In cases where the Charity agrees to be appointed as Executor for a person's estate as a 'thank you' for a legacy, Age UK will again pass this information to solicitors who will write this into the Will. These solicitors are never appointed as Executors in these cases."

Maintaining the highest standards
"Help the Aged has now merged with Age Concern. Like its predecessors, the new organisation will strive to be open, transparent and accountable. We will ensure all our work continues to be carried out with the utmost integrity, and we will take any steps necessary now or in the future to uphold this. We will review any such services in the light of any consumer feedback or concerns expressed in order to maintain the highest standards."

(For details of UNISON's free Wills service click here)

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Digital Switchover

(I'm sure by now we're all fed up of hearing about the digital switchover, but I thought Age UK's latest information was worth looking at, just to make sure you know what's what. Mae Stewart)

What is digital switchover?

The Government is changing the way the UK receives television signals. Many people currently receive analogue signals to view their television. These will be phased out and replaced by digital signals by 2012. To carry on watching television, you will need to choose a service provider. You may also need new equipment to enable your television to receive digital signals.

Will it be expensive?

Prices will vary depending on which service you choose but there are two ways of going digital:

  • A one-off payment with services such as Freeview, Freesat from the BBC and ITV, or freesat from Sky.
  • A monthly subscription with services such as Sky TV or Virgin Media.

Will I have to buy a new TV?

Almost all sets can be converted with a digital box. However, if you do want to buy a new TV, look for the digital tick logo. This means it's designed to work through the switchover.

Do I already have digital?

If you have more than the five standard channels or get your TV via Freeview, freesat, satellite or cable then you are already enjoying the benefits of digital TV.

Is there any help available?

The Switchover Help Scheme can provide eligible people with assistance to convert one TV to digital. You'll be eligible if you are 75 or over, registered blind or partially sighted, entitled to certain disability allowances, or have lived in a care home for six months or more.

Download Age UK's sheet on digital switchover to find out more about what you will need to do and what help is available.

When do you switch?

Find out on the Digital UK website or call 0845 6 505050 (textphone 0845 234 0380).

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(Apologies to AGEUK for any misquotes: Mae Stewart)