UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK
  Retired Members Information & Resources 

Staying Active in UNISON

Back to Retired Members Index

Back to Information & Resources Index

Useful Links



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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.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 49 September 2013

top | Information & Resources Index

Banking and shopping when you’re out and about

If you have difficulty using cash machines and card readers, don’t assume that your only choice is to stop using them.

There may be ways to help you access them. Banks, building societies, shops and other organisations must take reasonable steps to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask what’s available, or to request things that you know are available.

Anyone who struggles to use a chip and PIN card for any reason can get a chip and signature card. When you go tithe till at a shop and put your chip and signature card in the card reader, it will ask you for a signature rather than a PIN.

If your bank or building society won’t let you have one, make a complaint.
Contactless technology, which lets you pay for cheaper items without entering your PIN, is becoming more common. If you spend less than £20 in a shop you may be able to pay by waving your card over the touch point.

There are many kinds of special equipment available for people with visual and hearing impairments. You can request bank statements in large print or other formats that are easier to read. PIN keypads in shops should have a raised locator bump on the number five to help you find the other numbers on the keypad.
For more information about the different products and equipment available, contact the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) or Action on Hearing Loss.

What Next? - Protecting yourself Banking and shopping from Home

Telephone and internet (online) services allow you to do your banking and shopping at home, making them ideal if you find it hard to get out.
Online banking can be a good way to keep control of your finances from your home. Even if someone else is helping you with your finances, it’s a good idea to check your balance regularly, and it’s possible to do this via the internet.

You can set up regular and one-off bill payments using your bank’s online or telephone service.

Most banks and building societies have a 24-hour telephone service that you can access using a security number.

If you’re hard of hearing, you can get a telephone with an in-built amplifier. If you have arthritis or other conditions which result in joint pain, it could be worthwhile getting a special telephone with big buttons.

Shopping online can be convenient. Some people worry about paying with a debit or credit card over the internet, but it’s possible to shop safely online. However, you should look out for certain features on the website before putting in your payment details.

For more information, see our free guides Internet security; Making the most of the internet and your consumer rights.

If you would like to know more about how to use the internet, ask your local Age UK for help – many offer training sessions and advice on getting online.
UK Online Centres help people who want to learn simple computer skills (see page 34). Your local library might also offer computer training.

Carers Allowance

If you look after your partner, or a relative or friend who needs help because they are ill or disabled, then you are a carer. The main welfare benefit for carers is called Carer's Allowance. You get £59.75 a week.

To qualify for Carer's Allowance, you must:

• Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person. It doesn't matter whether or not you live with them

• Care for someone who receives the higher or middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance.

• Not earn more than £100 a week (after deductions)

• not be in full-time education.

If you are under pension age, you will also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension.

Carer's Allowance may not be paid if you are receiving a State Pension or certain other benefits. However‚ it may be a good idea to apply anyway because you could get extra Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.

If you're claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role, without having to apply for Carer's Allowance. This is known as a carer element. However, if you are ill or disabled, you will only be entitled to a carer element or a disability element - not both.

Carer’s Allowance can sometimes continue for short periods if you or the person you care for goes into hospital, or if you have a break from caring.

How to claim Carer's Allowance

Call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 (textphone: 0845 604 5312) to request a claim form.

You can also download a form or make a claim online on the GOV.UK website
(The above information was taken from AGE UK website (apologies for any misquotes))

(Apologies to Age Scotland for any mis-quotes in this information) 
Mae Stewart


top | Information & Resources Index