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Age UK Wiltshire offers free and comprehensive advice on a wide range of subjects.

We can help you identify the problem, explain the choices available and help you decide what you want to do. We may be able to provide individual support if you need further help to resolve the problem.

If you're worried about money or not sure what you might be entitled to, our team of advisors may be able to help. 

About our service

  • We can provide simple money guidance to help you maximise your income, apply for grants, and help you understand the basics of day-to-day correspondence and bills.
  • We can give information and advice on welfare benefits for those over State Pension age, including completing benefit and income maximisation checks and supporting with many benefit application forms. We are unable to support with working-age benefits.
  • Support with understanding and challenging decisions about welfare benefits.

How we deliver the service

  • Telephone advice, including appointments
  • Email advice
  • Face to face appointments
  • Home visits for certain benefit forms such as Attendance Allowance, where we are not able to support in another way
  • Information guides and factsheets 

Our resources

Information & Advice - your suggestions and feedback

Demand for our Information & Advice service is growing and we’re keen to expand our services so we can support as many people as possible across Wiltshire and Swindon. We would welcome your ideas on how you think we should do this.

Common questions

I would like to maximise my income or know if I am entitled to any benefits

There are a variety of means-tested, non-means-tested benefits and schemes available for older people and Age UK’s info guide More money in your pocket (IG43) summarises these, the criteria and how to apply. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maxmisation check (a benefits check) where we look at all of these to help save you money.

Means-tested benefits like Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit take into account most of your income and a 'deemed' income from any capital you have over £10,000 and compare this to government-set figures for your circumstances to see if you're eligible. There isn't necessarily a limit on savings; it depends on your specific circumstances. 

If you’re a carer or disabled then you may be eligible for non-means-tested benefits or extra premiums that increase your eligibility for means-tested benefits.

Our AUKW Money MOT explains other schemes to help you save money or increase your income, such as NHS Low income scheme, tax allowances and non-means-tested Council Tax Discounts

See our dedicated Money and Benefits page for more information and ideas. We understand that benefits can be complex and we can give further advice on specific enquiries if needed. 

I need help with an Attendance Allowance form or claiming a disability benefit

Attendance Allowance (AA) is a non-means-tested disability benefit for older people from the government to help pay for the extra costs of having long term disability or health problems. Receiving Attendance Allowance can also increase eligibility for the means-tested benefits and could mean someone becomes entitled when they weren’t before. Age UK’s info guide Attendance Allowance (IG49) has more information. The number to request a form is the DWP 0800 731 0122 (requesting the form by phone means it can be backdated to the date of the call).

We’ve produced a AUKW guide to completing Attendance Allowance forms. We can also arrange a free telephone appointment or limited home visit if needed – contact our Information & Advice team to arrange a referral. We may also be able to help with Disability Living Allowance (DLA) forms

Additionally, if someone has difficulties with personal care then they could consider contacting the Local Authority’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. The local authority may also be able to contribute towards care package fees and larger adaptations, depending on the outcome of a separate financial assessment. If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help.  More information is available in Age UK's info guide Getting help at home (IG23)

I have been awarded Attendance Allowance - what other help is there?

Did you know a successful Attendance Allowance (AA) claim can increase entitlement to means-tested benefits for yourself or someone that cares for you? This is because additional premiums like ‘severe disability premium’ and ‘carer’s premium’ can apply to the benefit calculation to increase entitlement, or mean you become entitled for the first time. You could become entitled to a non-means tested Council Tax Discount or Exemption. 

Age UK's info guide More money in your pocket (IG43) summarises these. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maximisation check where we look at all of these to help save you money. 

The extra money from Attendance Allowance aims to help people maintain their independence and improve the quality of their lives, although the money can be spent as one wishes. If you’re considering arranging or paying for help, services or equipment you can find information about these on our Local Traders and Services page and Organising Care and Support page. 

I would like to claim Carer's Allowance / I am a carer can I get extra money?

If you provide informal care for someone else regularly then you may be eligible for extra financial help as a carer, such as Carer's Allowance, Carer's Premium or a Carer's Council Tax Discount. Usually the person you care for must first be receiving a qualifying disability benefit, such as Attendance Allowance. There is more information in Age UK's info guide Carer's Allowance (IG52)

Important: If someone is paid Carer's Allowance this can negatively impact the cared-for person’s benefits; we advise that the cared-for person has a benefits check first so they can consider all options. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maximisation check where we look at all of these to help save you money. 

Carer's Allowance is worked out differently for people over State Pension age. If you receive a State Pension you cannot normally be paid Carer's Allowance itself because of overlapping benefit rules, but you can still have the carer premium if you meet the other criteria. If you already receive a means-tested benefit then a carer premium can increase your entitlement. If you don’t get a means-tested benefit then premiums can mean you become entitled for the first time (as it increases the income thresholds for being eligible).

I'm unhappy with a benefit decision, been overpaid or been turned down

Benefits can be complicated to claim and it can be disheartening to be turned down or be told that you’ve been overpaid. You should be notified in writing of the decision (a ‘decision letter’ or ‘overpayment letter’) which tells you what your options are for challenging the decision. Age UK has a factsheet FS74: Challenging Welfare Benefit Decisions with more detail. 

You can ask for written statement of reasons for the decision to help you put a case forward to challenge the decision; sometimes the decision letter uses standard wording that may not relate specifically to your claim or does not include a breakdown of relevant dates. You must usually challenge the decision within one month of the date on the original decision notice so don’t delay! 

Challenging a benefit decision can be complicated and you may be able to receive more detailed advice from one of our advisers. 

I need help with energy bills

Our AUKW Spread the warmth leaflet has information about local and national schemes available to help you keep warm over winter - in particular we are accepting applications for Wiltshire Surviving Winter Grant and complete a free income maximisation check to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.

Warm and Safe Wiltshire (Tel 0800 038 5722) provide a comprehensive free energy advice service including • Advice on eligibility for various energy grants • Advice on insulation, heating and draft proofing and guidance on resolving damp and condensation issues • Guidance on heating systems and controls • Advice on understanding your fuel bills, managing fuel debt and switching energy tariffs.

Age UK’s info guide Save Energy Pay Less (IG30) has tips to reduce costs and use energy more efficiently.

The Citizens Advice website has information about the various government cost-of-living schemes available from the government.

I would like to see if I am eligible for any grants e.g. boiler, white goods

Our AUKW Grants information sheet (See: Benefits and Money page) explains options to consider for grants for unexpected bills, essential household items and white goods. We may be able to support you in applying for a grant or finding out where to access one. 

For boiler replacements or energy efficiency measures Wiltshire Warm & Safe (Tel 0800 038 5722) provide a comprehensive free energy advice service including • Advice on eligibility for various energy grants • Advice on insulation, heating and draft proofing.

Our AUKW Spread the warmth leaflet has information about local and national grants to help with the cost of keeping warm in winter - in particular we can support with applications for Wiltshire Surviving Winter Grant and complete a free income maximisation check to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.

I have a consumer problem

The Citizens Advice website has lots of information, and a dedicated free Consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133.

If you are concerned about a possible scam Age UK’s info guide Avoiding Scams (IG05) has tips and explains the steps to take if you suspect or need to report one. 

I am thinking about making a power of attorney or a will

A Power of Attorney is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions for you, if you can’t make them yourself – or if you don’t want to. You can only make one if you have the mental capacity to do so and haven’t been put under any pressure. The person making a power of attorney is known as the ‘donor’, the person(s) appointed to help are known as ‘attorneys’.  There are 2 types and you can opt to make one or both: ‘Property and financial affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’. There is more information, including where to get the forms and the registration process and fees in Age UK’s info guide Power of Attorney (IG21)

A will can ensure that your money, property, possessions and investments (known as your estate) go to the people and causes you care about. There is more information in ‘Age UK’s info guide Wills and estate planning (IG31).

If you are struggling with managing your affairs because of a long-term health condition or disability, then you could be eligible for other help.There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23).

We have further information and links relating to this on our dedicated Wills and Power of Attorney page.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If you are looking for something specific, or you are not sure what kind of support or advice you need, our frequently asked questions page has answers to the most common questions we receive.

Check out our FAQs