This blog looks at all the possible benefits a person can claim upon retirement, be they major schemes or temporary provisions. 

It discusses the eligibility and the amount of benefits one can receive, depending on whether you have retired before the official pension age or after. 

It has also addressed some queries about other minor benefits that can be claimed in this context and the requirements for doing so. 

Can I claim any benefits when I retire?

Yes. There are several benefits that you can claim upon retirement whether or not you have reached the official retirement age. The government repealed the use of a mandatory retirement age. 

Now, the official retirement age does not prohibit anyone from continuing to work. But it is still used as a benchmark for State Pension eligibility and related calculations. 

Millions of U.K. citizens are unaware of the benefits that they can receive. And as a consequence, about 2 billion pounds of benefits go unclaimed annually, while retired citizens struggle with poverty and a lack of services. 

All available major benefits and their eligibility along with the monetary quotas will be detailed in the following section. 

Universal Credit for Retirees

If you have taken voluntary retirement before the state pension age i.e. 66 which will soon be increased to 68, then you are still eligible for benefits under Universal Credit. 

Depending upon the circumstances of your retirement, you can immediately claim Universal Credit or continue receipt if you have already been claiming it. 

Similarly, you may have been claiming legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Job-seeker’s Allowance or income-based Employment and Support Allowance etc. 

These will be stopped on retirement because it constitutes a change of circumstance and you will be shifted by the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) to the Universal credit system where you will probably get the equivalent. 

Keep in mind that taking your workplace or private pension early will affect the amount of benefits you receive. So make sure that you are sufficiently cushioned by your pension amount to last the next couple of years without the same level of benefits. 

Since you can take early retirement and claim private or workplace pension by age 55, then the next couple of years till you reach state pension age, you will not be making any National Insurance contributions, so your State Pension will also be lower. 

That should also be kept in mind when doing financial planning. If you retire after reaching the State Pension age, your Universal credit entitlement will be revoked. 

State Pension for Retirees

The official state pension age is currently 66 for both genders. But the government is in the process of raising it to 68 within the next 5-10 years, i.e. by 2028. 

You cannot claim State Pension unless you have reached this age- even early claims due to illness are not entertained. 

The amount for State Pension you receive will depend on how many years you have made National Insurance contributions and the additional credits that you have accumulated by claiming various benefits. 

Any gaps in payment, perhaps due to unemployment or such, can be made up by making voluntary contributions. 

After you have reached State Pension age, you can no longer make any National Insurance contributions, so you can also receive a tax rebate from that. 

State Pension is considered as income that can be taxed once you start receiving it. For more information about the State Pension scheme, annual payouts and other increments on it, you can refer to – State Pension: an overview | MoneyHelper

If you are an employee for the National Health Service you are eligible for an NHS pension whether you retire early or after the State Pension age. The annual increments will be adjusted according to the years that it needs to cover. 

Pension Credit for Retirees

In addition to State Pension, you may also be able to claim Pension Credit upon retirement. This is an income supplement that is added onto the existing pension when you are living on a low income. 

It helps meet extra expenses. It is divided into two categories- guarantee credit and savings credit. 

If you are on a low income and don’t have enough savings you will receive the guarantee credit portion so that you have at least a minimum weekly income. If your savings are above the benchmark– usually 16000 pounds, then you will just get an increment by way of savings credit. 

Having the guaranteed portion of pension credit can give you access to other benefits from the NHS as well such as free dental service and reimbursement of travel costs for healthcare. 

For more information on the details of Pension Credit please refer to – Pension credit advice | Age UK.  

Disability Benefits for Retirees

You can claim disability benefits both before and after retiring. If you retire before the State Pension age then you can claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

If you retire after reaching the State Pension age then you can claim Attendance Allowance. These are available if you suffer from any disability or chronic health condition that diminishes your ability to care for yourself properly or perform daily tasks.

The rates given will vary depending on whether you need assistance round the clock or just during the day. 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be used to keep a caregiver. It can be used to meet costs that make managing life with an illness or disability easier as well. These could include home refurbishments like ramps, toilet fixtures or fixtures to help with mobility in the house etc. 

For more information about the Attendance Allowance , you may read – Attendance Allowance | Age UK

New-Style Job-seeker’s Allowance (JSA) for Retirees 

Perhaps you have taken voluntary retirement as an alternative to voluntary redundancy. This may be because your boss is coercing the employees to take voluntary redundancy if the company is downsizing or shutting down or there is a merger etc. 

In such a situation, if you retire earlier than you intended and want to get back to work you can seek the new-style JSA, during the period of unemployment. 

You have to have been an employee for someone at some point during the past 2-3 years and you should have made sufficient National insurance contributions for the same period of time. 

This benefit will help you tide over the period of unemployment until you find another jobs. You have to sign a Claimant Commitment with the work coach of your local jobcentre. 

And you need to provide evidence that you are actively searching for a job. If you are not or you turn down an offer for no reason, the JSA benefit will be stopped. 

This benefit is only available to those who retire before State Pension age. If you are of or have crossed State Pension age, JSA and ESA are no longer available nor is Universal Credit. 

New-Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for Retirees

If you have retired earlier than the State Pension age because of a disability or a chronic illness then you can claim a new-style ESA. 

You need to have sufficient National insurance contributions and have to have been employed or self-employed for some time during the past 2-3 years. Since you have retired you don’t fall into the ‘ job activity group’ of the ESA. 

This group gets temporary monetary support until they resume work. Since you don’t intend to resume work due to your illness or disability, you can claim the ‘support’ group’ rate of the new style ESA. 

This provides for people who don’t intend to resume work because they are ill. But again, this benefit is only available if you are below the State pension age. 

Housing Benefits for Retirees 

If you were on Universal Credit and after retiring the benefit is revoked you can receive Housing Benefits after you have reached State Pension age, If you are below State Pension age, you can receive the housing component of Universal credit. 

This is necessary for retirees who rent as the benefit covers a large part or the whole of the rent and other service charges. You can claim Housing Benefit if you have retired and you own a house. 

But other mortgage assistance may be given to you instead. You will need to check with your local council. 

The Housing Benefit will be means-tested. The amount you receive will depend on your savings, income, other benefits you receive, your spouse’s income etc. 

This blog has looked at the main benefits that can be claimed when a person retires. These could be in the form of either major schemes or temporary support. 

It has discussed the eligibility and the amount of benefits one can receive, depending on whether you have retired before the official pension age or after. 

If you have any queries, comments or suggestions please feel free to contact us and leave a message, we welcome your input. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Can I claim any benefits when I retire?

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I retire? 

It depends on the age when you retire. If you are under State Pension age, then you can claim Carer’s Allowance if you are the primary caregiver for a child or family member with a disability or illness. 

You have to be involved in the care of a person for at least 35 hours per week and the person you are caring for must also be in receipt of either PIP or Attendance allowance. (middle or higher tier). 

If you are above State Pension age and you are receiving the State Pension you are not eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance. But if you put in a claim despite this, you may get an increase in another benefit to compensate for this, e.g. higher Housing benefit.

The Carer’s Allowance is not meanest-tested and so the amount of your/your partner’s savings will not count. It is also not dependent on your National Insurance contributions. For more information, please refer to – Carer’s allowance and payment advice | Age UK

Can I claim any health benefits when I retire? 

Yes. Whether you are above or below State Pension age, once you reach 60 years, the NHS gives you free eye check-ups and free prescriptions. 

If you are below State Pension age and you are receiving benefits like Universal Credit or were receiving legacy benefits like working tax credit etc. You can claim more NHS benefits such as free dental treatments, reimbursement for eyewear/glasses and compensation for travel costs during treatment. 

This can also be availed if you get the low income category of Pension Credit i.e. the guarantee credit. The following page will guide you in your claim- Free prescriptions for over 60s and other health costs | Age UK

Can I claim Council Tax Credits or discounts when I retire? 

No. Under usual circumstances you will not receive Council Tax support or rebates. Unless you or a family member have a disability or illness you will not receive any form of support. 

You can receive some discount or reduction if you retire and live alone or have health conditions and require care. Even if you are a primary caregiver for a disabled or ill individual you can claim some discount. 

It is also available when you are on a low income or receive the Guarantee credit portion of Pension Credit. For further details, you can read – Council Tax Support | Claiming Benefits | Age UK

Do I get any free transport facilities when I retire? 

Yes, there are a few free transport passes and discounts you can recieve. If you are a retiree, depending on your age , you may be eligible for a free ‘older person’s bus pass’. 

If you are above 60 years, you can apply for a Senior Railcard which provides significant discounts on rail travel. 

Finally if you have reached State Pension age, you can claim the London Freedom Pass, which is an all-purpose pass to gain discounted travel on all forms of transport like rail, the London underground, ferries, subways etc. 

To get guidance on how to apply for these , you can consult the following page- Free bus pass and transport concessions for seniors | Age UK

Do I get any additional minor/temporary benefits when I retire? 

Yes. Some additional benefits you are entitled to include Winter Fuel Payment. These pay from 100-300 pounds during the winter months of September to December for heating costs. 

If you already have income based benefits like Pension Credit or means-tested benefits like JSA or ESA, you might not receive this. If you are now living in a retirement home or nursing care, and you get these benefits, then you can’t access Winter Fuel Payment.

The age eligibility changes from year to year, so make sure you keep track of it. You can do so, on the following page – Winter Fuel Payment – Heating Allowance | Age UK

There are some other minor benefits like Television benefits and bereavement allowances that you can receive , which you can read about on this page- Benefits and entitlements for pensioners and the elderly | Age UK

References: 

  1. Government Digital Service. (2011, December 8). Early retirement, your pension and benefits. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/early-retirement-pension
  2. Benefits in retirement. (n.d.). MaPS. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/benefits/benefits-in-later-life/benefits-in-retirement
  3. Davies, P. (2014, April 5). Perks and benefits of being retired. Which? Money. https://www.which.co.uk/money/pensions-and-retirement/youre-retired-working-on-benefits-equity-release/perks-and-benefits-of-being-retired-an9sq6p4gjbf
  4. State Pension: an overview | MoneyHelper. (n.d.). MaPS. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement/state-pension/state-pension-an-overview
  5. Benefits and entitlements for the elderly | Age UK. (2018). Ageuk.org.uk. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/
  6. Pension credit: What is it? Am I eligible? How to claim | Age UK. (n.d.). Www.ageuk.org.uk. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/pension-credit/
  7. Attendance Allowance. (n.d.). Age UK. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/attendance-allowance/
  8. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) advice. (n.d.). Age UK. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/employment-and-support-allowance/
  9. Housing benefit advice. (n.d.). Age UK. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/housing-benefit/
  10. Free prescriptions for over 60s and other health costs | Age UK. (2018). Ageuk.org.uk. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/free-prescriptions-for-over-60s/

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.