Older people

State Pension

Your State Pension is worked out using your National Insurance record. You’ll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. They do not have to be 10 qualifying years in a row. This means for 10 years at least one or more of the following applied to you:

  • you were working and paid National Insurance contributions
  • you were getting National Insurance credits for example if you were unemployed, ill or a parent or carer
  • you were paying voluntary National Insurance contributions
  • if you’ve lived or worked abroad, you might still be able to get some new State Pension.
  • you might also qualify if you’ve paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions.

You do not have to stop working when you reach State Pension age, but you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance. You can also request flexible working arrangements if you want to keep working. Find out more about the new State Pension.

You have to claim your state pension, you will not get your new State Pension automatically. You should get a letter no later than 2 months before you reach State Pension age, telling you what to do. If you have not received an invitation letter, but you are within 4 months of reaching your State Pension age you can still make a claim. The quickest way to get your State Pension is to apply online.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges. If you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person, you may get additional financial support. Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You can get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home. If one of you is under pension age and one is over it, you should use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you might be able to claim. Find out more on Pension Credit in England, Scotland and Wales and Pension Credit in Northern Ireland, including how to claim.

If you get Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as:

  • Housing Benefit if you rent the property you live in
  • Support for Mortgage Interest if you own the property you live in
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
  • Help with your heating costs
  • Cold weather payment

To check the help you may receive from Pension Credit, take 10 minutes to use a Benefits Calculator.

Attendance Allowance

If you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you, Attendance Allowance can help with the additional costs. You do not have to have someone caring for you to claim. It’s paid at two different rates and the amount you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability. Attendance Allowance is paid weekly and is to help with personal support if you’re both:

  • physically or mentally disabled
  • State Pension age or older

Attendance Allowance considers your care needs and does not take into account your mobility. If you receive Attendance Allowance, any other benefits you may get can also increase, such as Pension Credit. If you do have a carer and you receive Attendance Allowance, they could get Carer’s Allowance if you have substantial caring needs. Find out more about support available for carers.

You can check what you might be entitled to by using a benefits calculator or contact our Services Team who are trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. Simply fill in the Services Contact Form or you can call us on 0800 0093 8543 and and one of the team will be in touch.  

All advice is free and fully confidential.

The helpline is open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays.