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Unfortunately, it is common for older people across the UK to struggle with their finances. With rising utility bills and lower pensions, more and more people are forced into choosing between staying warm during the winter and eating.

In fact, one in four older people are struggling according to a recent study. The survey, which included more than 1300 people over the age of 65, suggested that 572,600 older people were unable to keep their warms adequately warm, while 286,300 were unable to pay regular bills. Other worrying figures included:

  • 708,800 older people are unable to keep their homes damp free.
  • 945,100 older people would be unable to replace a cooker if it broke down.
  • 1, 299, 6000 older people have no access to a car and cannot afford a taxi.

The number of pensioners living below the poverty line rose to 1.9 million in 2016. Fortunately, there are some helpful, and free, elderly benefits available to older people, but there are concerns that people are unaware of them – with more than £3.5 billion worth going unclaimed.

Here are some of the free and discounted elderly benefits that you are eligible for:

Hospital Travel Costs

Unfortunately, as we get older visits to the hospital become more frequent. Luckily there is a way that you can receive help towards all the travel costs that this may involve.

You can join the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme if you receive:

Income Support.

Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Employment and Support Allowance.

Guarantee Pension Credit.

To claim you should mention that you have qualified to receive the money back by showing your award notice, tax credit exemption certificate or your HC2 Form. If you forget whilst you are at the hospital, then you can claim back up to three months after your appointment.

If this is the case for you then a HC5 form will be required. These forms should be available at your Doctors or at the hospital.

Discounted and Free travel

One of the best things about turning 60? Well that has to be the fact that you are now eligible for a free bus pass across the UK. If you live down in London, then you can apply for the Freedom Pass. This grants you free travel on buses, trains and the Tube – This must be a huge elderly benefit for London residents.

If you are outside of London but regularly travel via train, then you should apply for a Senior Rail card. This will give you a third off the price of all Standard and First Class Anytime, Off Peak and Advance fares.

You can choose to purchase a one-year Rail Card for £30 or a Three-Year Rail Card for just £70. If you know that you are going to continue travelling on trains for the next few years, then we would advise that you go for the three-year deal.

Free Eye-tests

Everybody over the age of 60 is entitled to free eye check-ups. This could become really important as you begin you struggle with your eyesight in your elder years. You are also eligible for vouchers which go towards the cost of contact lenses and glasses.

If you receive the Pension Guarantee Credit, then you are also entitled to free dental treatment.

Discounted and Free Television

When you reach the age of 75 you are eligible for a free TV License. This brilliant scheme will also cover anybody that you live with in your home. This does not happen automatically though, so you will have to make sure that you apply for it once you turn 75. You can do this through the official TV Licensing website. If you are slightly younger (60+), are retired and live in residential care then could can apply for a discounted TV license of £7.50.

Bereavement Benefit

The bereavement benefit is a welfare benefit, available to those who have lost their husband, wife or civil partner. There are four different types of bereavement benefit:

  1. Bereavement Payment

Up to £2000 if your spouse or civil partner died before April 6, 2017. This is a one-off, tax-free, lump-sum payment. You’re eligible if, when your husband, wife or civil partner died, you were:

Under State Pension age.

Over State Pension age and your husband, wife or civil partner wasn’t entitled to a State Pension based on their own national insurance contributions.

Additionally, your husband, wife or civil partner must have either:

Paid enough National Insurance contributions.

Died because of an industrial accident or disease.

2) Bereavement Support Payment

You may be able to receive Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner dies on or after April 6, 2017. You could be eligible if your partner either:

Paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks.

Died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.

3) Bereavement Allowance

You may be eligible for Bereavement Allowance if all of the following apply:

Your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017.

You were 45 or over when your husband, wife or civil partner died.

You’re under State Pension age.

Your late husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance contributions, or they died as a result of an industrial accident or disease.

4) Widowed Parent’s Allowance

You may get Widowed Parent’s Allowance if all of the following apply:

Your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017.

You’re under State Pension age.

You’re entitled to Child Benefit for at least one child and your late husband, wife or civil partner was their parent. Your late husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance contributions, or they died as a result of an industrial accident or disease.

Disability Living Allowance

The disability living allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit which helps disabled people with mobility and care costs. The government are now changing this benefit for those aged over 16, with these people being invited to apply for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

With a PIP you could receive between £22 and £141.10 per week, depending on how your medical condition affects you. To discover how much money you should receive, you’ll be assessed by a health professional.

Winter Fuel Payment

With this scheme you could receive between £100 and £300 of tax-free money to help you pay your heating bills. You will automatically receive this payment if you receive State Pension or other social security benefits such as Housing Benefits, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit.

Most payments are made between November and December and you are usually guaranteed to receive the money before Christmas. You can find out more about this elderly benefit on the https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/winter-fuel-payment-payments-and-rates

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related, tax-free benefit which is made up of two parts:

Guarantee Credit – You weekly income is topped up if it’s below £159.35 (for single people) or £243.25 (for couples).

Savings Credit – This is an extra payment for older people who saved some money towards their retirement.

When applying for Pension Credit, the government will look at all your income. This will include both your basic and additional state pension, any income from other pensions, income from any other jobs you have any savings over £10,000.

Get help with NHS prescriptions and health costs

You might be able to get free NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and help with other NHS costs.

Whether you get help depends on things like:

your age

your income

where you live

if you get certain benefits

if you’re pregnant

if you have a medical condition

Use this service to check what help you could get and how to apply. It usually takes 5 minutes to check.