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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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.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 31 May/June 2010

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Age UK has launched its More money in your pocket campaign

Age UKVery few of us would refuse extra money to help us pay the bills, have a more comfortable retirement and be able to treat our grandchildren.

However, many of us are missing out on extra money each week simply because we don't know what we are entitled to, or because we don't claim what's rightfully ours.

That's why Age UK has launched the More money in your pocket campaign - to help us claim all the money we are owed. Last year‚ Age UK helped put more than £100 million in unclaimed benefits in the pockets of those of us in later life and our carers‚ and we plan to do even better this year. A

ge UK lets us know if we are missing out on anything‚ and can help with filling in the claim forms. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Many local Age UK or Age Concerns can give a free benefit check. An adviser will explain each benefit and calculate what you may be entitled to.

This could be a combination of benefits and even a backdated payment. For those of us who find it difficult to leave the house or don't like talking over the telephone, the adviser can help fill in claim forms and may be able to visit you at home to do so. Some of us in later life have doubled our income simply by claiming what we're owed.

And remember benefits are revised every financial year, so if you haven't been able to claim money in the past you may be able to claim it now.

For more information about our More money in your pocket campaign‚ call Age UK free on 0800 169 8787.

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Carers Allowance campaign

Many of us find that during our retirement our husband, wife or partner, or a relative or friend, has health problems and needs our help and support. Unfortunately there is not much financial assistance or other support available. If we receive carer's allowance before we retire, it is taken away when we start to receive our pension.

  • Those who care for others are often undervalued and ignored by society.
  • There are 2.8 million people 50 and over providing unpaid care in the UK, including 5% of people 85 and over.
  • A quarter of all carers 75 and over provide 50 or more hours of informal care each week.
  • Carers save the UK economy an estimated £87 billion a year.

What Age UK is doing:

We are campaigning to make sure the voices of older carers are heard. We are calling for improvements to carer's allowance and for greater support for older carers.

What you can do:

If you provide help and support for someone close to you who has health conditions, please contact us and share your experiences. Or call Age UK free on 0800 169 8787 Or you can write to: Campaign Age UK: Astral House 1268 London Road London SW16 4ER

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Independent local forums

Those of us over 55 make up a fifth of the UK population. But do we in later life have a big enough say in the decisions that affect our lives?

Make your voice heard by joining an independent local forum.

There are more than 620 older people's local forums in the UK, involving more than 200,000 of us in later life.

By working together in independent forums, we are making our voices heard on the issues that matter to us in later life, influencing the planning and provision of services locally, regionally and nationally.

The local forums vary in size from small groups to those with thousands of members, but they all have a number of features in common: they are independent organisations that give us in later life a collective voice, influencing decision-makers on matters that impact on our everyday lives.

The forums are democratic and inclusive; they are run independently by older people, for older people. All members are volunteers.

In the local forums we in later life decide our own agenda, share information and raise issues that concern us. As well as campaigning, we often have social activities, run trips and hold open meetings: socialising, meeting new people and keeping in touch with local news.

Speaking Up for Our Age: Speaking Up for Our Age is Age UK's programme dedicated to supporting the independent local forums. The programme

  • works with you if you want to set up a forum
  • gives practical support to your forum
  • provides start-up and development grants to forums
  • sends regular newsletters to keep your forum in touch with others
  • holds conferences and training sessions across the country.

If you want to join a forum, or start one yourself if there is none local to you, please contact us on 0800 169 8787.

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(Apologies to AGE UK for any misquotes: Mae Stewart)