There are many helpful discounts and concessions available to older people, so don’t be afraid to ask for them. You can save money at a time when you need it most, and help make your cash go a lot further than you’d imagine.
What are health benefits in retirement?
As we get older, some of our outgoings naturally reduce. But, over time, they’ll be replaced by other expenses, ones linked to older age and the inevitable decline in health that comes with it. Fortunately, there are some health benefits you can get to offset some of these expenses.
What kind of health-related benefits could I get?
Many people have to live off a set income in retirement. So it’s good to know there’s help available with certain health related costs. These include:
- Free prescriptions (once you turn 60)
- Free eye tests (once you turn 60)
- A voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses (If you get Guarantee Credit)
- Help with travel costs to receive NHS treatment (If you get Guarantee Credit)
- Help with costs for NHS wigs and fabric supports (If you get Guarantee Credit)
What is Guarantee Credit?
Guarantee Credit is one of the two parts that make up the income-related benefit, Pension Credit. The other is Savings Credit. You may be eligible for one or both.
For single people, Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £177.10. For couples, this applies if your weekly income is below £270.30. Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £177.10 if you're single or £270.30 if you're a couple.
Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, such as through a pension. You may not be eligible for Savings Credit if you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
You can find out more about Pension Credit here.
Are there any other discounts available?
If you're over 65 now then you also qualify for a free flu jab each year. While you’re at the surgery, it’s also worth asking your GP or nurse if there are any local discounts on health-related services available to you. The NHS website also offers general information about health-related benefits for older people.
What is The Winter Fuel Payment?
As we get older, we begin to feel the cold more. Not heating our homes properly can result in cold-related illnesses like heart attacks or hypothermia. The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual Government initiative that helps older people cope with their increasing heating costs.
How much will I receive with The Winter Fuel Payment?
What you get depends on your living circumstances, but you'll usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension. Currently, if you were born on or before 5 October 1954 (this date changes every year) and you're living in the UK, you'll receive:
- £200 if you’re between 65 and 80 years old
- £300 if you’re 80 or over
To qualify for the amounts shown above, you need to be living alone or in receipt of other benefits.
Take a look at Gov.uk for more information and to find out what you'll receive.
How can I claim The Winter Fuel Payment?
If you receive the State Pension, you'll usually receive the Winter Fuel Payment automatically. If you don't, but you think you qualify, visit Gov.uk to apply. It won't affect any of your other benefits and you only need to claim it once to receive it every year – as long as your circumstances don't change. The money is usually put into your chosen bank account between November and December. You should get your money by 14 January 2022.
Will I qualify for The Winter Fuel Payment?
For 2021 you must have been born on or before 26 September 1955. You will also have needed to have lived in the UK for at least one day between 20 to 26 September 2021.
You won't qualify if:
- You're in prison throughout the week of 20 to 26 September 2021
- You're currently in hospital and have been receiving treatment on the NHS for more than 52 weeks
- You need permission to enter the UK and don't qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions
- You have lived in a care home for the whole time between 28 June and 26 September 2021 and received Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- You live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain
What else do I need to know about The Winter Fuel Payment?
It's worth looking at your gas and electricity bills or statements, to see if your energy provider runs any schemes or offers discounts to older customers. The larger companies are obliged to offer you help if you're finding it hard to heat your home – and you should definitely contact them if you're finding it hard to keep up with your bills.
While you're at it, Moneysavingexpert.com have also outlined how to take advantage of some grants for insulation. If you're a pensioner or receive certain benefits, the big improvements to increase efficiency - such as good home insulation and good quality boilers - could even be available for free.
Free bus travel for older people
We've had a national scheme to provide free bus travel to older people and the disabled in place since 2008. You may not have been a regular bus passenger before you retired, but with the government footing the bill, they're completely free. Maybe it's time to fall in love with bus travel all over again?
When will I qualify for free bus travel?
In England you can apply for a free older person’s bus pass when you either reach the female State Pension age (whether you're a man or a woman), or celebrate your 60th birthday in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The pass will give you free travel on local buses anywhere in England.
Concessionary travel is also available in Wales and Scotland but these may not entitle you to completely free bus travel. As an overview, country by country, you’ll get:
|England||Free off-peak bus travel on local buses. If you live in London, a Freedom Pass will give you free travel on the London Underground, the DLR and almost all public transport in London.|
|Scotland||The National Entitlement Card allows free travel on local and Scottish long distance buses.|
|Wales||Free local bus travel in any area, at any time of the day. Where bus services are limited, bus passes can be used on certain Welsh train lines.|
|Northern Ireland||Free travel on both the buses and trains within Northern Ireland.|
How do I get my bus pass?
It’s easy to apply for your bus pass through your local authority. Your local library, council tax office or tourist office may also have application forms you can fill in and send off.
Senior Railcard for over 60s
Senior Railcards are available for anyone over the age of 60. There's a small fee, but it'll save you a third off all your rail adventures whether you're a standard or first class traveller. And with a range of partners signed up as well, you can save money on everything from dining out to holidays to west end shows.
How old do I need to be to qualify for a Senior Railcard?
You can apply for a Senior Railcard if you are aged 60 and over. You can buy one up to two weeks before your 60th birthday if you buy online, but it’ll only be valid from your birthday onwards. If you buy from a station, you have to be 60 or over on the day you do it.
How do I get a Senior Railcard?
Applying for a card is easy and you can either do it online or by visiting your local rail station. To apply online you’ll need a credit or debit card and either a valid passport or driving license to prove your age. If you are buying at a rail station, you could also use your birth certificate.
You can also call the telesales service on 0345 3000 250 between 7am and 10pm every day, except Christmas Day. Calls are charged at the national rate.
What discounts do I receive with a Senior Railcard?
A Senior Railcard gets you a third off most standard and first class rail fares. There are no limits to the number of times you can use your ticket, but there are some restrictions on the times you can travel. For instance, the card enables you to get discounted 'anytime', 'off-peak' and 'advance' fares but you aren’t able to use it between two stations in the London and South East areas during peak times before 9am). The card also doesn’t apply to season tickets or Eurostar tickets.
How much does a Senior Railcard cost?
A one year card costs £30 per person. You can also buy a card for 3 years, the cost of which is £70.
What other benefits come with a Senior Railcard?
Purchasing a Senior Railcard also entitles you to money off other products and services including hotels, restaurants, theatre trips and entertainment.