Eligibility for the State Pension depends on your National Insurance contributions (NICs). You can choose to claim your State Pension to get it when you reach State Pension age, or put off claiming it to get more later on.
Over 80 Pension
If you're aged 80 or over and have little or no State Pension, you may be able to claim the Over 80 Pension.
If you have reached the qualifying age, you can apply for Pension Credit to top up your income to a weekly minimum.
Pension Credit and free school meals
Children whose parents, carers or guardians receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are entitled to free school meals or milk. Your local education and library board must provide free school meals to eligible students where requested.
Winter Fuel Payment
Winter Fuel Payment is tax free and paid yearly to eligible older people. Find out more and download the application form at the following section.
Cold Weather Payment
You may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment to help with extra heating costs during very cold weather. Payments are made automatically – you don't need to claim.
You can get Attendance Allowance if you're aged 65 or over and need help with personal care because of an illness or disability.
If you look after someone who's severely disabled, you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance. If you're severely disabled, someone who looks after you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.
Lone Pensioner Allowance
Rate payers aged 70 or over and living alone may be entitled to a 20 per cent reduction in their rates.
Budgeting Loans may be provided to help people on a low income to pay for things like furniture, clothes and travel.
If you need financial help to pay for a funeral you're arranging, you may be able to get a one-off Funeral Payment. You might have to repay some or all of it from the estate of the person who died.
Housing Benefit Rate Relief
If you're a tenant on a low income, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit Rate Relief.
Low cost bus passes
From age 60 you qualify for a free bus pass.
Free eye tests and help with other health costs
If you're aged 60 or over you may be entitled to help with various health costs, including eye tests and dental treatment.
War Widow's/Widower's pension
You can claim a tax-free pension if your husband, wife or civil partner died because of war service or received a War Pension or related allowance.
Tax and allowances in retirement
Find out about paying tax if you have retired or receive a pension, and learn about the range of allowances and help that is available.
Help with claiming benefit
Some people need help with claiming benefit because they can’t manage their own affairs. This could be because they’re mentally incapable or are severely disabled. If so, another person - called an appointee - can be given the legal right to act for them. Find out about becoming an appointee.
Major charities for older people
Some large national charities, like Age NI, have local branches and offer a wide range of services and social activities. Age NI combines Age Concern NI and Help the Aged in Northern Ireland.
Citizens Advice Bureau
You can get free, independent advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), regardless of your age. Your local CAB is staffed by trained volunteers who can give you advice on a range of issues. These include:
- how to manage and reduce debt
- benefits and taxes
- legal matters
- consumer problems
CAB also provides advice online through the Adviceguide website, which contains independent advice on your rights and directs you to other specialists if you need more help.
Who to contact if your circumstances change
If your circumstances change, it is important to let your local benefits office know. The page below provides advice on what changes you would need to report and whom to contact: