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Low income pensioners are missing out on legitimate benefits

Paul Lewis / 06 August 2014

Are you one of the pensioners not claiming the benefits you're entitled to?

Elderly hand being held
Could you be claiming extra cash that is rightfully yours?

McCarthy & Stone is one of the largest and best known builders of specialist homes for retired people. As part of its service it helps residents claim the benefits they should be paid.

In the past 12 months it has helped 242 people recover nearly £900,000 – an average of more than £3500 each. Those 242 represent more than a quarter of the 885 people who have asked for advice. McCarthy & Stone entitlements advice service says the bulk of claims cover four benefits.

Guarantee credit

Pension credit is available to people aged 62 or more (born before 6 May 1952). The guarantee credit tops weekly income up to £148.35 – or £226.50 for a couple (the other partner can be younger). 

The amounts can be higher for those with disabilities. 

Read more about claiming pension credit.

Savings credit

Once people reach 65 they can get more from pension credit. The so-called ‘savings credit’ will top up an income by up to £16.80 a week for a single person or £20.70 for a couple. 

Both elements of pension credit depend on your other income and can be reduced if savings exceed £10,000.

You can call The Pension Service to make a claim on 0800 99 1234. You will need your National Insurance number, bank account details and information about your income and savings.

Council Tax Support

If your income is low you may also be able to get help with council tax

Anyone born before May 6, 1952 who gets the guarantee credit will get all their council tax paid for them. Those on savings credit will get most of it paid. And even those with too high an income to get either may get some of their council tax paid. 

Apply to the local council. Although council tax support has been sharply reduced for those born on May 6, 1952 or later, it has not been changed for those over that age. Capital over £10,000 will affect how much you get.

Check your entitlement to these three benefits using an online service like or 

Attendance Allowance

The fourth benefit McCarthy & Stone found was under-claimed is one which helps those who are disabled and need help from someone else to cope with daily tasks. 

Attendance Allowance is not means-tested or taxed and is either £54.45 a week – or £81.30 a week for the more severely disabled who need help throughout the 24 hour period. 

You can get Attendance Allowance if you need help even if you do not actually get it or if a spouse or partner provides it. 

There is more information and details of claiming here. 

You may also get help from Carers UK at or call 0808 808 7777

If you get Attendance Allowance it can increase the amount you can get from pension credit or council tax support.

Find out how to claim carers allowance.

Billions unclaimed by millions

We know from official figures that more than two million people are entitled to more help than they get and between them more than £5 billion is unclaimed. 

So if you – or someone you know – is over 62 and finding it hard to manage there could be more money waiting for you. The highest amount McCarthy & Stone got for one of its residents was £12,035 a year. 

If you live in a McCarthy & Stone residence you can get advice by calling 0800 027 2445.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.