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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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.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 56 November 2014

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Unclaimed benefits - Help with winter eating costs

Each year up to £5.5bn of Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit goes unclaimed by older people. This is despite 1.6m people in later life living in poverty.
Age UK's research suggests that as many as 72% of older people who have claimed benefits say it’s improved their lives. Imagine what a bit more money could mean for you. It could help with shopping, paying the bills or being able to get out and about.

What we're not claiming

Find out if you can claim more benefits

Start by finding out if you can claim these common benefits:

Get advice from Age UK

If you would like advice or help making a claim, call Age UK Advice free of charge on
0800 169 65 65 or visit your nearest Age UK to talk to a friendly adviser.

Help with winter heating costs

With fuel costs rising, many of us worry about paying our energy bills, so make sure you’re not missing out on any benefits or discounts you’re entitled to.
We've got some simple changes that can help you save money without sacrificing any warmth:

  • Keep your radiators and heaters clear of furniture, run the washing machine at a lower temperature and unplug chargers when they’re not in use.
  • Draw your curtains in the evening to minimise heat loss through windows. Tuck long curtains behind radiators to prevent heat from getting trapped.
  • Defrost your freezer every six months to ensure it runs efficiently.
  • Consider switching energy supplier. There are lots of energy companies and tariffs to choose from. Watch out for extra charges, and check how long special offers or discounts run for to get the best price. Our free factsheet Switching energy supplier has useful information.                                                                      Cont:
  • Claim all the benefits you’re entitled to. As well as a Winter Fuel Payment, you may also be entitled to a Cold Weather Payment, and the Warm Home Discount on your electricity bill if you receive Pension Credit. Use our online benefits calculator to find out what you are eligible for.

Difficulty paying your energy bills?

Tell your energy supplier as soon as you can, so they can help you work out a repayment plan.
Points of Note:

  • You can still claim benefits even if you have a state pension.
  • More people who apply for benefits are successful, rather than getting turned down.
  • You are still available for benefits even though you have savings.
  • You can still claim benefits if you own your own home. Pension Credit contains help towards mortgages payments and service charges for home owners. It’s always worth claiming even a small amount, as this may lead to qualifying for further benefits.
  • If you have a disability that means you needing extra help with looking after yourself then you could be eligible for up to an extra £54.45p per week (or one of the lower rates).
  • While some benefits stop at 70 years of age, and are age dependant, others such as Council Tax or Housing Benefit continues for as long as you are eligible

The above information (points to note) came from online questions and answers quiz on the age UK website. You can also go online at Age UK website and download information leaflets that go into further details on many topics concerning pensioners.
For those of you who do not have (or wish to have) access to the internet contact details are as follows:(My first call would be Age Scotland to get help or directions to same where I could get information).’

Age Scotland:  0800 4 70 80 90
Causewayside House, 160 Causewayside, Edinburgh. EH9 1PR

Age UK: Nearest contact – Glasgow -   0141 204 0811
37 Glassford Street,  Glasgow, G1 1UG


www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland or www.ageuk.org.uk
(Apologies to Age Scotland for any mis-quotes in this information) 
Mae Stewart


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