Are you coming up to retirement age? Or have you passed the milestone already? Either way, it marks the start of an exciting new chapter in your life; one that holds so many opportunities. Of course, a question you might be asking is: can you afford to do the things you want in later life? Income sources you might not have considered are the benefits you may be entitled to.
As you reach the age of 60 (or state pension age), there are several types of benefits you could be eligible for. Some are payments made to you. Others are discounts or exclusions on what you've paid in previous years. But government data shows that £1.7 billion in Pension Credit alone
is being left unclaimed by older people. So, do you know what you're entitled to? And are you claiming it?
What benefits can I claim when I retire?
If you're retired or are about to finish work, always remember you may be able to supplement your income in later life with several benefits. Some of the most important ones are provided by the state as long as you claim them. Here are some of the benefits you may be able to claim when you retire.
What is the state pension, and do I have one?
UK citizens aged 66 and above have the automatic right to claim a state pension. This threshold will go up to 67
between 2026 and 2028. But, in the here and now, it's worth £185.15 per week if you qualify for the full amount. You'll also receive it no matter if you paid into your own personal or workplace pension before retirement.
In some circumstances, you may be eligible to receive more than the full state pension amount. People over the state pension age and on a low income, for example, can claim Pension Credit.
Can I get housing benefit when I retire?
If you're on a low income in retirement and have reached state pension age, you could be eligible to get housing benefit. It's means-tested, so there are a few important factors that'll affect how much you may receive. Your total savings, who you live with, and the amount of rent you pay are some of these factors.
You can't get housing benefit when you retire if you pay rent to a close relative. Nor will you be eligible if your savings are worth more than £16,000. You're also unlikely to claim this benefit if your partner is still of working age – but you could qualify for universal credit in that format.
Can I receive support on my council tax bill?
This is another means-tested benefit – but council tax support is available to retired people. The support is typically there for those living on a low income. Your age, who you live with, and how much council tax you pay can also decide how much support (if any) you're entitled to.
The amount of support can differ from council to council too.
Other perks and discounts you could receive
Later life can also bring with it a raft of other perks, discounts and benefits in addition to the main ones mentioned above.
National insurance contributions
As soon as you reach the state pension age, you no longer have to pay National Insurance
(NI). The only exception is when you're self-employed and pay Class 4 contributions. Even then, you only pay those Class 4 contributions until the end of the tax year when you reach pension age.
Winter Fuel Payment
Much has been said about the current cost of energy bills as winter approaches. But one benefit you'll get automatically if you receive the state pension is called the Winter Fuel Payment. You'll receive between £150 and £300 based on your age and where you live.
For winter 2022-23, this amount will also be topped up by a 'Pensioner Cost of Living Payment
Cold Weather Payment
If you already receive other benefits, you may also be entitled to the Cold Weather Payment
. It differs from the Winter Fuel Payment in that it's paid when the average temperature is forecast to be no warmer than zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row.
Free health and discounted travel
In later life, there are many other benefits and discounts available to you – be it travel, health, days out and more.
When it comes to your health and wellbeing, you'll qualify for free prescription medication once you reach 60 ( this is free in Wales & Scotland at any age). You'll also be able to claim a free NHS eye test. In certain situations, it might be that you can claim free NHS dental treatment and eyewear discounts once you get to 60.
In terms of travel, some areas of the UK will give you a free bus pass when you reach 60. With most parts of England, however, you'll need to be the state pension age You'll also have the option to purchase a Senior Railcard for cheaper rail travel.
Who is entitled to retirement benefits?
If you want to know when you can get retirement benefits, the state pension age is a good place to start. With some benefits, you may be eligible as soon as you turn 60.
Most people are likely to be automatically entitled to state pension benefits once they reach the qualifying age. Of course, there are others where you'll need to meet certain criteria if you need extra support in later life.
The main thing to remember is that you're almost certainly entitled to benefits in retirement. It pays to check what those might be – otherwise they'll only end up going unclaimed.
How can Key help with your later life finances?
It's important to make sure you're receiving the retirement benefits you're entitled to. After all, the extra income or reduced outgoings can contribute towards the life you want to lead.
But it's equally vital not to forget there are other options available to you. At Key, we're experts in later life finance – and we're here to help you enjoy later life in a way that's right for you. We can help you unlock some of the equity that's tied up in your home. Or we can work with you to examine your mortgage options in later life.
Of course, releasing funds from the value of your home can affect the retirement benefits you're entitled to. Yet our expert advisers can help you check what you're entitled to and tell you how releasing equity could affect any means-tested benefits you may already receive. So, if you think that equity release
could be right for you, why not contact our team today? Let us help you live the later life you always wanted.
Things to consider
All our equity release advice relates to Key lifetime mortgages only - a loan secured against your home
Equity release will reduce your estate’s value and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits
A lifetime mortgage may result in limited or no property equity remaining and will reduce your financial options in the future
The loan, plus compound interest, is typically repaid through the sale of the property when the last remaining applicant passes away or moves into long-term care
£899 advice fee only payable on completion