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Author: Belfast Telegraph - Claire McNeilly
Published on 05 December 2012 09:00 AM

Are you getting the all the financial help available to you?

Belfast Telegraph Consumer correspondent Claire McNeilly details the benefits.


Means Tested Benefits

1. Pension Credit (PC)
Pension Credit is a tax-free top up of weekly income to a minimum level made up of Guarantee Credit, paid to those who have reached minimum qualifying age and savings Credit to those over 65.

2. Housing Benefit
Paid to those who need help to pay rent, based on income and rent charged. Those on Guarantee Pension Credit may qualify for full benefit.

3. Rates Relief
Home owners may get help with payment of rates. Those in receipt of Guarantee Pension Credit may get full help with rates. Pensioners with savings up to £50,000 may be entitled to help.

4. Regulated Social Fund
Access to regulated Social Fund includes Cold Weather Payment and Funeral Payment available to those in receipt of Pension Credit.

5. Income related Employment Support Allowance
A benefit paid to people whose ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. Part may be means tested.

6. Income related Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid to people of working age seeking work. Part can be means tested.

7. Passported Benefits – Cold Weather Payment for those receiving PC
Access to Discretionary Social Fund (Community Care Grants, Budgeting Loans, Crisis Loans). Because they are discretionary they are not guaranteed payments, and are limited to given budgets. Access to Warm Home Scheme.

Non Means Tested Benefits (Non-Contributory Benefits)

8. Attendance Allowance (AA)
A tax-free benefit paid to those with health problems who can demonstrate a need for help with personal care paid to over 65s not in receipt of other disability benefit; low rate for those with day time needs and high rate for those with day and night needs.

9. Disability Living Allowance
If you need help with personal care or have difficulty moving around you may qualify but must claim before 65. DLA has two components: care for those who need help with personal care and mobility for those with difficulty outdoors. The care is at three levels, mobility two.

10. Carers’ Allowance
Paid to those who provide at least 35 hours care weekly to a person in receipt of middle or high rate of the care component of DLA or either rate of AA. Carers must not be in full-time education or earn over £100 a week.

11. Lone Pensioner Allowance
If you are aged 70 and over, liable to pay rates in your home and if you live alone you can get a 20% reduction in rates.

12 .State Retirement Pension
Based on national insurance contributions paid in working life and paid at pension age.

13. Contribution based Job Seeker’s Allowance
This element of JSA is based on the contributions paid up until onset of unemployment.

14. Contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
This element of ESA is based on national insurance contributions paid up until the onset of illness or disability for a limited period.

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