The perks and benefits of being a pensioner
When you finally reach retirement, it’s not just a life without work and more freedom to enjoy. There are a number of discounts, freebies and benefits for pensioners you might also be entitled to.
Last Updated: 2 May 2023
Although it's probably the widest known benefit, there are lots of pensioner perks besides a free bus pass. The problem is over £2 billion of these benefits go unclaimed ever year.
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 government benefits, some private companies also offer pensioner perks.
You could save on your heating bill, TV licence, prescriptions, and you could even get a £10 Christmas bonus.
This article isn't personal advice. Pension and tax rules change, and benefits depend on your circumstances. The information in this article is correct as at 2 May 2023, and applies to the 2023/24 tax year. We offer a range of information and support to help you plan your own finances. If you're not sure what's right for your circumstances, we also have an advisory service that can help you achieve your financial goals.
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 be entitled to the new State Pension, which is currently a maximum of £203.85 a week. Or the basic State Pension, which means you could receive up to £156.20 a week.
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 State Pension 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 £242 and £967 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
Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. This means you could get anywhere between £250 and £600, which includes a ‘Pensioner Cost of Living Payment’, completely tax free to help you pay your heating bill during the cold winter months. Typically you'll be eligible if you were born before 26 September 1956. You can find out whether you're entitled to this payment on the government's website.
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
Some over 75 households are eligible for a free TV licence. Currently this would cost you £159 a year. You'll need to apply for this by contacting TV licensing.
Benefits offered by private companies
Private leisure and entertainment 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, English Heritage will offer you an 8.6% discounted yearly membership from age 65. You can get an annual pass for just £63 a year and in return you can explore historic houses, English abbeys and picturesque gardens.
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