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9 Welfare benefits

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1. Introduction

2. Who can claim benefits?

3. If you have a low income

4. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

5. If you have children to look after

6. If you are unemployed

7. If you are ill and can´t work

8. If you have a disability

9. If you are just starting work

10. If you have retired or are about to retire
You may receive the State (retirement) Pension when you reach pensionable age (for now, 65 for men and 60 for women). You do not have to retire to get State Pension – you may receive it whether or not you are still working.

The amount you receive will depend on how much National Insurance you or your husband or wife or civil partner have paid or been credited with during your working lives. However, once you turn 80, you may get some StatePension whether or not you have paid National Insurance.

When you reach pensionable age, you can choose to defer (put off) receiving your State Pension. Depending on how long you defer, when you eventually claim it, you can get either:

  • a lump sum (as well as your weekly pension at its normal rate); or
  • an increased amount of weekly pension.

You may be able to receive another benefit, called Pension Credit if you are 60 or over. This depends on your circumstances but you can get it whether or not you are still working. It is made up of two parts:

  • Guarantee Credit; and
  • Savings Credit.

You may get either or both parts but you can get the Savings Credit only if you or your partner is 65 or over. The Guarantee Credit tops up your income to a guaranteed level for your circumstances. You may get some Savings Credit if you have savings or other income on top of your basic pension. Savings Credit can be paid on its own, or as well as Guarantee Credit.

If you are 60 or over, you will also receive free prescriptions and you should receive a Winter Fuel Payment each year, depending on your circumstances.

11. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

12. Where do I claim?

13. What must I do when I claim?

14. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

15. What if I´ve been badly treated?

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet


This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: June 2008

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