Benefits Expert: ‘Do we qualify for benefits?’

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MY four-weekly State Pension is £621.08 and my wife’s is £246.27.

 I have two private pensions totalling £100 a month and we have £15,000 savings. We have no mortgage but pay Council Tax of £1,390 a year. Do we qualify for any benefits? Mr. B (County Durham).

YES. You are missing out on Savings Credit of £11 a week and Council Tax Benefit of £22 a week. You can claim both by phoning 0800 99 1234 and you will get them backdated for three months.

WHAT can we claim when my husband reaches 65 later this year?

 We have Guarantee Pension Credit and I have a State Pension of £30 a week based on my contributions.

 We understand that his State Pension will be £115 a week and mine will go up to £61. We have £16,000 in the bank. Mrs B (Lakeside).

AT 65 he will be eligible for the more generous Savings Credit in addition to Guarantee Pension Credit.

 If you have no income other than those State Pensions you will be entitled to weekly Guarantee Pension Credit of £21.70 and Savings Credit of £14 at current rates.

I LIVE alone and the only benefit I receive at present is a rent rebate, although I still pay £58 a week towards the rent and full Council Tax.

 Will I be able to claim more when I am 60 in May? L (by Email).

WHEN you are old enough to claim Pension Credit you will also be treated more generously in your claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

 However, whereas the age at which a person is eligible for Pension Credit used to be 60 it is rising in line with the increase in the pension age for women.

 This means someone like you born in May 1952 will not reach the qualifying age until May or July 2014.

WHAT benefits would I be entitled to if I stopped work to give my disabled husband the greater care he now needs?

 He has Disability Living Allowance which includes the Middle Rate for Care but he has no other benefits because he was self-employed and did not pay enough contributions.

 I presently work full time, receiving Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in respect of our two school age children. Jill (by Email).

YOU could claim Carer’s Allowance and Income Support totalling £178 a week plus full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

 You would lose your Working Tax Credit through stopping work but being on Income Support you could claim maximum Child Tax Credits.