Other types of financial help for people on low incomes
- Help with National Health Service (NHS) charges
- Help for people working
- Help for people who care for children
- Child Tax Credit
This part of the guide describes some other types of help your customer may be able to get. There is a wide range of other help available for pensioners, ranging from free TV licences for people aged over 75 to renovation grants for home improvements.
Information about schemes and services for pensioners can be found in The Pensioners’ Guide. This is a free Government guide which explains the help and benefits customers can get.
For a free copy:
- call 0845 7 31 32 33, or
- order it online at www.direct.gov.uk/pensions
Help with National Health Service (NHS) charges
If your customer gets Pension Credit which includes Guarantee Credit, they and their partner can also get help with health costs, this includes:
- free NHS dental treatment
- vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses
- travel expenses to appointments that an NHS doctor or dentist has arranged for you,
- free NHS wigs and fabric supports.
Your customer may be able to get some help with these costs even if they do not get Guarantee Credit.
People aged 60 and over are currently entitled to free sight tests and NHS prescriptions in England. The age at which men and women can claim free prescriptions in England will increase to reflect changes to the State Pension age. However, there will not be any changes to the age exemptions in April 2011.
Prescription charge arrangements are different in England from those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Leaflet HC11 is available from www.dh.gov.uk/helpwithhealthcosts or advice is available by phoning 0845 850 1166.
For those in Scotland leaflet HCS1 is available online or by phoning 0845 850 1166.
Help for people working
If your customer or their partner:
- are responsible for a child
- have a disability that puts them at a disadvantage in getting a job and are getting or have recently stopped getting a qualifying sickness or disability related DWP benefit, or
- are aged at least 50 and are returning to work after receiving a qualifying DWP benefit for at least 6 months,
they may be able to get Working Tax Credit if they do paid work for 16 hours a week or more.
Otherwise they will need to be aged at least 25 and do paid work for 30 hours a week or more.
If they do get Working Tax Credit it will be taken into account when their Pension Credit is worked out, but they may find that they are better off overall.
For more information about Working Tax Credit call the Tax Credit helpline on 0845 300 3900.
You can also get information from the HM Revenue & Customs website, www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits
Help for people who care for children
Child Tax Credit
Pension Credit does not include money for children, but if your customer is responsible (getting Child Benefit) for a child or young person who is living with them, they may be able to get Child Tax Credit. This would not affect their Pension Credit.
For more information about Child Tax Credit call the Tax Credit helpline on
0845 300 3900.
You can also get information from the HM Revenue & Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits.
Healthy Start vouchers and vitamins
Pregnant women and children under 4 in families getting one of a range of qualifying benefits or tax credits can apply for help from Healthy Start. This scheme provides weekly vouchers to put towards the cost of.
- plain fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, whole or chopped, packaged or loose, or
- infant formula milk.
The vouchers cannot be used for:
- flavoured milk, coloured milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, goat’s milk, soya milk or powdered milk – except infant formula milk
- any plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables that have added salt, fat, sugar or any other ingredient
- pre-cooked, dried or tinned fruit and vegetables, fruit juice or smoothies
- infant formulas that aren’t based on cow’s milk, such as soya formula
- follow-on formulas that are made for babies aged six months or older.
It also provides coupons for free vitamin supplements without the need for a prescription.
Whilst Pension Credit itself does not qualify a family for Healthy Start, if your customer’s family includes a pregnant woman or child under 4 then they may be able to apply for the scheme if the family is also getting one of the following:
- Income Support, or
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
- Child Tax Credit without Working Tax Credit (unless Working Tax Credit run-on only is in payment) AND an annual family income of £16,190 or less (2011/12).
They can also get help from the scheme for any member of the family who is pregnant and under 18 years old even if the family is not receiving any of the benefits or tax credits listed here.
Customers can get more information about the qualifying criteria and how to apply at www.healthystart.nhs.uk, or by calling the Healthy Start helpline on 0845 607 6823.
If the child’s parents (or other parent) live elsewhere, and your customer does not get any maintenance payments from them, the Child Support Agency may be able to help. The Child Support Agency is responsible for calculating, collecting and enforcing payment of maintenance for children in many cases.
Customers can get more information about the choices they have for Child Maintenance by calling Child Maintenance Options on 0800 988 0988 or visit the website at www.cmoptions.org. There are leaflets available which give more information about child maintenance.