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Benefits for the over 60’s – Discounts and Benefits for people over 60
Retirement is a time to enjoy the rewards of your hard work, but most people dread retirement. Your work-life gave you a sense of purpose, a regular routine and social connections. Retirement takes away the sense of purpose and financial stability.
In the UK, people over 60 are struggling with their finances. Due to lower pensions and utility bills, people are spending more money to live a comfortable life. According to a recent study, one in four people is struggling financially.
The good news is, there are plenty of exciting perks that include benefits and discounts for you to enjoy. Want to know the perks people over 60 enjoy in the UK? in this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits and discounts people over 60 will enjoy in the UK.
Workers in the UK make contributions to National Insurance in different ways. This largely depends on what they earn and how they’re employed. The National Insurance has several classes from Class 1 to Class 4.
Employees earning £183 per week or more are under Class 1. For example, between 2020-21, UK workers will pay 12% on earnings between £9,500 to £50,000 and 2% on earnings more than £50,000.
The self-employed with profits of more than £6,475 a year are in Class 2. In 2020-21, workers in Class 2 earning more than £6,475 will pay £3.05 a week as a contribution to the state pension.
You need to know that the state pension age is changing. At the time of writing, the pension age for men and women in the UK is 66. It’s expected that the pension age will rise to 67 between 2020-21 and after that, 68 years.
How much state pension will I get in 2020/21? In 2020-21, the state pension is £175.20 a week. In a year, you’ll receive £9,110.40. To qualify for the state pension, you must have 35 years of contributions to the National Insurance. Previously, it was 30 years worth.
To check your state pension age, click here.
Free Eye Tests and Prescriptions
In the UK, once you reach 60 years, prescriptions are free. As a retiree, you qualify for free prescriptions from the NHS. When you visit your local pharmacy to collect your medication, you’ll find a box at the back of your prescription slip.
Tick and sign the slip. By doing so, you’re expected to pay £8.
You can receive free NHS eye tests once you reach 60 years old in the UK. In fact, the free eye test is available whenever you need one. According to experts, people over 60 years require an eye test every 2 years, but it may be more often depending on the circumstances.
The free NHS eye test is not only for checking if your glasses are up to date. It’s also to check the health of your eyes. The free sight test can reveal a lot to the optician. It can help the optometrist detect eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma.
It can also help detect other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. If you cannot leave your home due to disability or illness, an optometrist can provide the eye test at home. All you’ve to do is contact your optician.
You can also contact NHS England. Now that you’re retired, it’s essential to keep your eyes healthy. Experts recommend:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Use good lighting
- Sleep well
Don’t forget to wear sunglasses as the intense sunlight can damage your eyes.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit that consists of two parts, namely:
- Guarantee credit
- Savings credit
A guarantee credit tops up your weekly income if earning below £173.75 for single people and £265.20 for couples. If you own a home or a pension, you’re eligible for guarantee credit.
A savings credit is an extra payment for those who save money towards their retirement. As of April 6th 2016, you can only receive savings credit if you reached state pension age before April 6th 2016.
If you’ve been receiving savings credit, you’ll continue to receive it since there are no breaks in your entitlement. But if you stop being eligible, you’ll not get it again. For those eligible for savings credit, you’ll receive £13.97 a week for single people and £15.62 a week for couples.
Remember, if you leave Great Britain, your entitlement to pension credit gets affected.
Free or Subsidised Travel
Once you reach 60 years, you’re entitled to free or subsidised travel. The National Rail offers a senior discount card valued at £30 per year. This allows you to save a third of your train tickets. For example, if you buy a three-year senior railcard going for £70, you’ll save £20.
The average yearly savings is £119, which means this is not a bad deal. There are additional offers that include holiday theatre tickets and discounts on days out.
If you live in a London borough, you can ride the public transport for free. Retirees over 60 years are eligible to get the 60+ Oyster Card and a Freedom Pass. The benefits of the Oyster Card include:
- Free travel on bus, tram, London Overground, Tube and DLR
- Discounted fares on River Services
- Discounted fares on Emirates Airline
On the National Rail, you can travel for free from 09:30 on weekdays and anytime on public holidays and weekends. To get the Oyster Card, you need to apply online two weeks before your 60th birthday.
You need to provide the following:
- Email address (active)
- UK driving license or passport
- A machine-readable colour image (png or jpg format and be less than 6MB)
- Digital colour photo
- Debit or credit card
Once you submit the application, your debit or credit card will be charged £20. If you don’t have the details above, you’ll have to:
- Provide a verification letter (must take it to a Post office in London and include your age and address)
- Pay £20 at the Post Office
When you receive the 60+ Oyster Card, you can use it right away. On buses and trams, make sure to touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end of your journey.
Adult Education Grants
Retirement is not only an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy the fruits of your work. But a chance to find a new purpose in life. Thanks to the internet, there are thousands of freelancing opportunities. From virtual assistant jobs to copywriters, all these opportunities can enable you to make money from the comfort of your home.
To attract clients and earn more money, you need to upgrade your skills. There are hundreds of sites that offer nano degrees and other courses. Some offer these courses for free, while others charge a fee.
As a retiree in the UK, you’re entitled to adult education grants. Adult learners can apply for the grant to help pay for training and courses. Learners don’t have to pay this money back. To apply for bursaries and grants, visit Gov.UK. You can apply online, and the organisation will tell you if you’re eligible.
If successful, apply and start learning. Once certified, you can bid for freelance jobs online. There are several platforms for freelance work. They include:
- Amazon Mechanical Turk
Your local council also runs lots of lectures, workshops and classes.
Council Tax Rebates
The County Tax bill takes a large percentage of your monthly income. In fact, UK residents have had to pay hundreds to thousands of pounds worth of fees every year. The good news is, the government also refunds the money to the unemployed and those on low incomes.
A council tax rebate is a payment awarded by the local council to a household of low-income earners or the unemployed. In 2013, the system underwent several changes and today, the local council processes the claims and not the government.
Who is eligible for council tax rebates? Besides people on a low income or the unemployed, others eligible for the tax rebates include:
- Single occupant
Under the government default scheme, you’re entitled to 20% of the applicable amount. The applicable amount is what the UK government thinks you can live off per week.
For example, Mr Smith earns £160 a week. The minimum amount he needs to live on per week is £110. That leaves Mr Smith with a difference of £50 from the applicable amount. Our calculations show that 20% of £50 is 10. This means Mr Smith will pay £10 per week towards his council tax bill.
To apply for council tax rebates, check your latest council bill for your area’s scheme. Alternatively, give your local council a call if you’ve not received a bill.
Free Gas Safety Check
At home is where most accidents happen. Research shows that 6,000 deaths occur as a result of home accidents in the UK.
People over 65 users and children are most likely to have an accident at home. Accidents can cause serious injuries. The risk increases with age. The good news is, you can reduce gas-related incidents with a free gas safety check.
A free gas safety check is one of the benefits for people over 60 in the UK. Anyone over 60 years and receives council tax benefit and pension credit can receive free gas safety checks.
The free gas safety check is part of measures that all energy suppliers must make available to their customers over pension age. This service should also be extended to people with long term illness and disability.
Your energy supplier should also provide adapters and controls to help use your home appliances safely. They should move your meter to a location where you can get access to it. This ensures that your energy supplier reads your meter at least once a quarter.
If your energy supplier fails to offer the extra services above and more, you can switch energy suppliers. Visit Usave and compare energy suppliers.
Universal Credit is a benefit paid to people in and out of work. It replaces some tax credits and benefits that you might get such as:
- Child tax benefit
- Housing benefit
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Income-related support and employment allowance
These are also called legacy benefits. Who can claim Universal Credit? You can claim universal credit if you meet the following conditions:
- You or your partner are under state pension age
- You live in the UK
- You and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings
- You are on a low income or out of work
To get universal credit, you must apply immediately you’re entitled. Applying early even though you’re not eligible helps you avoid the need to take out an advanced payment. The date you submit your claim is also the date when your universal credit payment gets paid.
You need to know that universal credit is always paid monthly. This means you’ll have to wait one month from the date you submitted your claim to receive your payment. Your payment will reach your bank account in seven days.
For example, Mr Smith reached the state pension age on November 1st. This means the assessment date is November 1st and he will receive his payment on 1st of every month. Mr Smith must wait one month that is December 2nd since universal credit is usually paid monthly in arrears.
Since the money will reach his account in seven days, he should expect his payment on December 28th.
Bereavement Support Payment (BSP)
If you’ve lost your wife, husband or civil partner in the last 21 months, you are eligible for bereavement support payment. This payment scheme replaced the following:
- Bereavement Payment
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension)
To be eligible for BSP, you must have paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in the past tax year. Also, your partner died due to an accident or disease caused by work.
When your partner dies, you must be:
- Living in the UK
- Under State Pension age
If you’re in prison, you cannot claim bereavement support payment. Bereavement support payment is available in two rates:
Higher rate – the first payment is £3,500 and £350 as a monthly payment
Lower rate – the first payment is £2,500 and £100 as a monthly payment
If you receive child benefit, you’ll get the higher rate, but if you don’t, you’ll get the lower rate. This may change if you were pregnant when your civil partner, wife or husband died. You must claim within 3 months after your partner’s death.
Claiming the amount later will result in fewer monthly payments.
The benefits above have helped thousands of UK residents 60 years and older as well as the disabled, unemployed and low-income earners. You too can claim these benefits for peace of mind and maximise your safety.
All you have to do is visit the relevant website or make a quick call to the authorities. Alternatively, you can apply online and follow the instructions to receive the benefit and discount.