If you a pensioner or approaching pension age you may qualify for certain benefits.

Some of the help available is listed below, any figures shown are 2023/24 rates:

'Benefits for Older People
Benefit What is it? Who qualifies?

State Pension

You can claim the basic State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born before 6 April 1951
  • a woman born before 6 April 1953

If you were born later, you’ll need to claim the new State Pension instead.

The earliest you can get the new State Pension is when you reach State Pension age.  

To get either State Pension you must have paid or been credited with the required National Insurance contributions.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of 2 parts - Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You may not be eligible for Savings Credit if you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016

From 15 May 2019, if you’re in a couple you’ll only be eligible to start getting Pension Credit if either:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age, or
  • one of you is getting Housing Benefit for people over State Pension age.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work,
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17),
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is),
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you, and
  • you live in the UK.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.

You can get Attendance Allowance if you’ve reached State Pension age and the following apply:

  • you have a physical disability (including sensory disability, for example blindness), a mental disability (including learning difficulties), or both,
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or someone to supervise you, for your own or someone else’s safety, and
  • you have needed that help for at least 6 months
  • There are different rules if you are terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help you with some of the extra costs if you have a long term ill-health or disability.

If you receive an award before you reach your State Pension age, it can continue beyond this date.

You must be aged 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age to claim. You must also have a health condition or disability where you:

  • have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months, and
  • expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months
  • There are different rules if you are terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

Carers Allowance

You could be eligible for extra money if you care for someone on a regular basis.  

You must care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits

It can't be paid at the same time as State Pension but can increase entitlement to other benefits.  It can also affect the benefits of the person you look after.  Seek advice before claiming.

Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It’s being replaced by Universal Credit.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if one of the following is true:

  • you’re getting the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it,
  • you got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it,
  • you have reached State Pension age,
  • you live in temporary accommodation, or
  • you live in sheltered or supported housing with special facilities such as alarms or wardens.

If not, you’ll need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction can help you pay your council tax if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits.

You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%.

You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. If you live in West Dunbartonshire you can claim online.

Council Tax Discounts & Exemptions

You may qualify for a discount or exemption dependent on your circumstances.

Discount or Exemption may apply in the following circumstances:

  • You are treated as being the sole adult in the household,
  • All occupants are classed as 'disregarded persons', i.e. severely mentally impaired, 
  • Your home has been adapted for a disabled person,
  • Your property is empty.

Winter Fuel Payment

 This is a lump sum payment to help with heating costs.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you’re eligible but do not get paid automatically, you will need to make a claim.

Winter Heating Payment

Winter Heating Payment is to help people on low income benefits who might have extra heating needs. Social Security Scotland pays this to people living in Scotland.

It replaces the Cold Weather Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and has the same eligibility requirements. 

Unlike the Cold Weather Payment, Winter Heating Payment does not depend on how cold the temperature gets.

Warm Home Discount

A one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.

There are 2 ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme:

How you apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depends on how you qualify for the discount.

Help with NHS health costs

You may qualify for help if you receive certain benefits or are on a low income. 

You can pick up the HC1 form for the Low Income Scheme, available from community pharmacies, GP practices, Citizens Advice Bureau and Jobcentre Plus offices.

There are a number of independent benefits calculators to find out what benefits you could get how to claim, how your benefits will be affected if you have a change of circumstances.