Health & wellbeing

A boost to your income could make you feel better. Claim your Pension Credits now and you could improve your health. You could be entitled to an extra £60 every week! Find out more about how to apply below.

You could be entitled to an extra £60 every week! Find out more about how to apply below.

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May 2021

Health isn’t just about infections, vaccines and going to hospital. Our health is dependent on a huge number of factors. One of the big indications of how healthy you are is how much money you have. According to the Office for National Statistics, there is a “healthy life-expectancy gap” of around 19 years between the most and least deprived areas of the UK. This means people with more money are likely to live longer and be healthier.
There is a campaign in Leeds to help older people understand that they might be entitled to claim particular benefits. The hope is that if people get more money, they’ll be able to live healthier lives.

The campaign is particularly focused on Pension Credits. This is money you can get from the government to “top up” your weekly income. Apparently, there’s around £32 million that isn’t currently being claimed in Leeds. It’s time you got your chunk of that £32 million!

Over the page Jo Volpe from the Centre for Ageing Better explains how you can claim your Pension
Credits. But first, we speak to an older person who has already done so about the impact it has had on their life. It isn’t always easy to navigate the benefits system but once you do, it can have a hugely positive effect on your finances – and your health.

Apparently, there’s around £32 million that isn’t currently being claimed in Leeds
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Mary is 92 and lives in the Richmond Hill area. Recently workers at Richmond Hill Elderly Action (RHEA) helped Mary work out her benefits and claim pension credit and Housing Benefit. Donna Waldron, SWIFt Engagement Officer at RHEA, spoke to Mary initially. “Mary had told me she had been living off the funds from selling her house and it had nearly run out,” says Donna. “She feared she would have to move as wouldn't be able to afford the rent.”

Donna asked Nicola Farley, Outreach Worker at RHEA to help out. Donna says, “If you or someone you know has a problem or needs advice on any subject, RHEA's expert Nicola will work with them on a one-to-one basis and in complete confidentiality.” Nicola helped Mary work out the benefits she was entitled to. Mary was able to claim both Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.

Thanks to Nicola and Donna and their help, Mary was able to stay where she loves and increase her weekly income.

We caught up with Mary on the phone to find out a little more about her and why claiming Pension Credit was a good idea. Mary started by telling us about where she grew up. “I was born in Leeds, where the Merrion Centre is. They knocked our houses down to build the Merrion Centre. Rossington Street, they called it. At one end it was Woodhouse Lane and at the top end it was Camp Road.”

During World War 2, Mary worked as a machinist in a factory on Claypit Lane, making army uniforms. She stopped work when she got married, though sadly her first husband died. Mary married again and they started a family.

As she got older, Mary realised that she needed some help with day-to-day living, so she moved to a sheltered housing complex. She sold her house. “I should have asked more for it really,” she tells us. “I just wanted to get out of the area.” When her funds were getting low, Mary thought she might have to move out. Nicola helped her navigate the benefits system. “I’ve just had a rise in my benefits,” says Mary. “I’m better off now.” Mary is entitled to Housing Benefit, which helps her pay her rent. She’s also entitled to Pension Credits, which means she has more money to spend on other day-to-day things.

It’s fantastic to hear that Mary was able to get her benefits sorted out. She really loves where she lives and having Housing Benefit meant she could stay there. “It’s lovely. The wardens are very, very good. The people that live here, I’m friendly with a lot of them. I do like it here. It’s a one-bedroomed flat. It’s only two storeys high and I’m on the top floor.” Mary’s Pension Credits also help with bills like groceries. Her family take her shopping and Mary enjoys having just a bit more money to spend. Finally, we asked Mary what advice she’d give to older people who might be entitled to Pension Credits. “Get them sorted out!” she says. Who can argue with that?

The average Pension Credit claim boosts your income by around £60 a week. Just imagine...

isn't it time you topped up?

Pension Credits are available to many older people in Leeds. But how do you go about getting hold of that extra money? Jo Volpe from the Centre for Ageing Better explains the process below.

Pension Top Up
It’s been estimated that around £32 million in pension credit is going unclaimed in Leeds. Some of that £32m could be yours!

 

The average value of a household’s pension credit claim in Leeds is £59.50 per week. Imagine what a difference that could make to your life - having to worry less about money and being able to afford the things you need. It can make the difference between being able to pay for food, heat a home and use public and private transport. The first type of pension credit is called Guarantee Credit.
 

You can get Guarantee Credit if your weekly income is less than £177.10 if you’re single, or £270.30 if you’re a couple. It kicks in when you reach State Pension age. If your weekly income drops below those figures at any time after this, you can claim. Some carers and disabled people may be entitled to extra amounts.
 
WHat if I have savings?

You can still claim! There is no capital limit for Pension Credit though savings over £10,000 can affect the amount of Pension Credit you are entitled to. The second type of Pensions Credit is called Savings Credit. Savings Credit is extra money if you've got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension. It's only available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. You could get up to:

  • £13.97 extra per week if you're single

  • or £15.62 if you're a couple

 
what else can I get?

Getting Pension Credit is not just the weekly payment, it can entitle you to all this:

 

•A free TV Licence if you’re over 75.
 

•Free NHS dental treatment, help towards buying glasses and the cost of travel to hospital.

 

•A warm home discount (worth £140 a year) and a cold weather payment worth £25 when the temperature is 0°C or below for 7 days in a row.

 

•Housing Benefit or help with mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges.
 

•Help towards council tax.
 

•If you’re a carer you may get an extra amount.

 
a quick phone call

You can apply online or by phone call to the Pension Credit claim line. A friend or family member can call for you if you cannot use the phone.

 

Pension Credit claim line: 0800 99 1234

 

If you haven’t got anyone who can help you with the call Welfare Rights at Leeds City Council would be happy to help, please call them on 0113 3760452.

 

Age UK Leeds have people who can help with your claim.

 

Please call them on
0113 389 3000 or 0113 389 3010

You will need:
• your National Insurance number
• information about your income, savings and

investments
• your bank account details, if you’re applying by

phone or by post

 

What would you spend your extra money on?

 
 

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