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Author: News Letter -
Published on 26 May 2011 09:00 AM

Lone pensioners across Northern Ireland have benefited from almost £13.5m in rates assistance since 2008, it was revealed yesterday.

The department of finance yesterday reminded people over the age of 70 who live alone to apply for the 20 per cent discount in their rates bill to which they are entitled.

Finance minister Sammy Wilson said: “The Lone Pensioner Allowance is an example of the tangible help that the executive is providing to one of our most vulnerable groups in society. It is encouraging that nearly 25,000 people have availed of this assistance which I am sure is of particular use in this current economic climate.”

The minister, who was attending the Young at Heart Exhibition at St George’s Market for retired people, encouraged all those who qualify for the assistance to apply.

“If you are aged 70 or over and are living alone, I urge you to apply for the Lone Pensioner Allowance,” he said.

“If you are eligible you will receive this help irrespective of income or savings because this allowance is not means tested. Therefore you don’t have to tell us about your savings or income when you apply.”

Older people who do not live alone may also be eligible for help with paying their rates, he said, and people on low incomes and homes adapted for disabled residents may also qualify.

For information see or call 028 9151 3101.

Meanwhile, Age NI told the News Letter yesterday that it too can provide advice and information to help older people make the most of their money.

The organisation has an online benefits calculator at or pensioners can call the Age NI Advice Service on freephone 0808 808 7575 for a free benefits check.

Advisers can guide callers through the process, explaining each benefit and calculating what they might be entitled to.

Callers can also ask for a free ‘More money in your pocket’ booklet and Pension Credit Booklet.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575