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The perks and benefits of being a pensioner

When you finally reach the all important milestone of retirement, it’s not just life without work and more freedom to enjoy. There are a number of freebies, perks and discounts you’ll also be entitled to.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

Every year over £3.5 billion in benefits goes unclaimed by older people. Are you set up to get your fair share when you reach retirement?

Pensioners’ benefits don’t just mean a free bus pass. You could save on your heating bill, TV licence, prescriptions, and you could even get a £10 Christmas bonus.

You might think pensioners’ benefits are only for those with low earnings- but you’d be wrong. Some benefits are solely dependent on your age.

As well as the government offering benefits, so do some private companies. They’ll give you discounts on a variety of entertainment- helping you to fill your extra time in retirement.

This is based on our current understanding of the rules. Pension and tax rules can and do change and benefits will depend on your circumstances.

Benefits from the Government

Pension and tax benefits

Most people will benefit from the State Pension but the age you can claim it and how much you’ll get won’t be the same for all those who qualify.

If you qualify, you’ll either be entitled to the new state pension, which is currently a maximum of £168.60 a week. Or the basic state pension, which means you could receive up to £129.20 a week. These figures are set to rise in April 2020.

To check how much you’re on track to receive you can request a state pension statement. And the easiest way to find out when you can claim payments is by using the government calculator.

Once you reach State Pension age you’ll normally stop paying National Insurance straight away- even if you’re still working.

If you’re employed you’ll pay 12% on any earnings between £166 and £962 a week and 2% on anything above this whilst you’re under State Pension age. This means you could end up cutting a huge amount off your tax bill each year.

Perks for the winter months ahead

Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. This means you could get anywhere between £100 and £300 completely tax free to help you pay your heating bill during the cold winter months. Typically you’ll be eligible if you’re entitled to the State Pension or certain other social security benefits. You can find out whether you’re entitled to this payment on the government’s website.

You might also benefit from the Warm House discount. This is a one-off discount of £140 on your electricity bill during the period between September and March. Part of the eligibility criteria for this payment is that your energy supplier must participate in the scheme. You can find a full list of suppliers who are part of the scheme here and details of eligibility.

Travel discount

As you approach retirement you’ll become entitled to free travel on some public transport. The age at which you’ll qualify does vary depending on where you live in the UK. In most of England you’ll be able to get a bus pass when you reach State Pension age. If you live in London, you can travel for free on most public transport when you’re 60, but only within London. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland you can get a bus pass for free travel at age 60.

At 60 you can also apply for a Senior Railcard. It will only set you back £30 a year and you’ll get up to a third off most train fares.

Health & lifestyle freebies

You’ll even be entitled to some healthcare benefits on your 60th birthday. You’ll no longer have to pay for any prescriptions or eye tests, and dental treatment on the NHS may be free too.

At age 75 you’ll benefit from a free TV licence. Currently this would cost you £154.50 a year. You’ll need to claim for this by contacting TV licensing. These rules are set to change in June.

Benefits offered by private companies

Private companies tend to offer discounts for the over 60s. You could get cheaper tickets to museums, cinemas, swimming clubs and a cheaper membership to English Heritage.

For instance, both Vue and Odeon cinemas offer a reduced ticket price once you reach a certain age. If you’re over 55 you can go and see the latest blockbuster at an Odeon cinema for as little as £3. Vue offers tickets at a discounted price at selected cinemas when you reach 60. Both companies will even give you free tea and biscuits if you go and watch a film.

English Heritage will offer you a 15% discounted membership at age 65. You can get an annual pass for just £51 a year and in return you can explore historic houses, English abbeys and picturesque gardens.

So whether you’re saving money on an eye test, or your heating bill – it can actually pay to be a pensioner.

This article isn’t personal advice. Tax rules and benefits depend on your individual circumstances. We offer a range of information and support to help you plan your own finances. We also have an award-winning advisory service that can help you achieve your goals.

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Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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