Guide to Welfare Benefits

State Pension

This earnings replacement benefit is payable to a claimant who has reached retirement age and paid enough National Insurance contributions.  At the moment the pensionable age for men is 65 and 60 for women but this will increase until 2018 when for both men and women it will be 65.

Pension credit

Under the new Universal Credit system, this benefit will be payable to a claimant who has reached pensionable age and who has a low income.   This is a means-tested benefit and is a top up of income.  Any capital is irrelevant save for any tariff income that it generates.  This benefit is generally under-claimed.  It is divided into two categories; Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.  Guarantee Credit tops up a shortfall of income and Savings Credit is in effect a reward for the amount of savings you have.  The more savings you have then the more savings credit you will receive.

Attendance allowance

This is payable to a claimant aged 65 or over who needs a substantial amount of help with his or her personal care.  It is non-contributory, non-means-tested, non-taxable and unaffected by Personal Independence Payment (previously Disability Living Allowance).  It is generally under-claimed and can trigger entitlement to other benefits, e.g. carer’s allowance.

Personal Independence Payment

Under the new Universal Credit Scheme, the Personal Independence Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance.  This could have an adverse affect as Personal Independence Payment may prove more difficult to obtain than the previous Disability Living Allowance.  Disability Living Allowance/ Personal Independence Payment is for claimants under the age of 65 and includes an element for mobility allowance.  The claim should be made before the claimant’s 65th birthday.  Only Disability Living Allowance is being affected by Personal Independence Payment.

Industrial disablement benefit

This is payable to an employee who has an accident at work that arises out of and in the course of his employment, which results in a loss of faculty and usually at least 14% disablement.

Carer's allowance

This is an earnings replacement benefit that is paid to someone who cares for at least 35 hours every week for a severely disabled person. The claimant must not be in full-time education or in remunerative employment.

Widowed parent's allowance

This is an earnings replacement benefit that is payable to a widow or widower who is under retirement age when their spouse or civil partner dies and who is caring for a child for whom child benefit is paid (or the claimant is a woman who is pregnant with her husband's child).

Bereavement allowance

This is an earnings replacement benefit that is payable to a widow or widower who is over 45 but under retirement age when their spouse or civil partner dies or their entitlement to widowed parent's allowance ends and who is not entitled to widowed parent's allowance.

Bereavement payment

This is an one-off capital payment to a widow or widower or civil partner who is under retirement age when their spouse or civil partner dies and whose spouse or civil partner has the appropriate Class 1, 2 or 3 national insurance payment history.

Universal Credits – what does this mean for the elderly?

  1. Abolition of Housing Benefit
  2. Abolition of Tax Credits
  3. Abolition of Council Tax Benefit
  4. Replacement of Disability Living Allowance by Personal Independence Payment (previous DLA claimants may be transferred to PIP)
  5. Abolition of the Social Fund

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Key Contacts

Nicola August

Partner & Head of Vulnerable Client

Val Prosser

Senior Associate