Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter,
Dundee, Perth and Angus. Please note that this is not definitive
information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where
to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON
Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be
outdated or inaccurate. The member's information excerpts this month
were taken from the Pensioners Forum Newsletter, and the local Dundee
magazine called Retired & Living in Dundee. My apology for any
Issue 15 September 2007
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& Resources Index
NHS-24 Help the Aged have issued a booklet
called ‘Important Information for Older People'.
This booklet gives comprehensive information about
NHS-24 and how to this service most efficiently.
For a copy of booklet you can download from the NHS-24
website at: www.nhs24.com
Or call the NHS Helpline on 0800 22 44 88
There is a website called ‘helptheaged.org.uk'
that I thought would be useful for you to know about [if you don't
already]. This site is the official site of Help the Aged, and is
updated regularly with any/all information relating to pensioner
Here are some extracts:
Over £4.2 billion of means-tested benefits go
unclaimed by older people every year.
Many people find the number of benefits on offer, and
the complex rules for how to claim them, daunting.
** Every financial year your old benefits are revised,
and new benefits introduced, so even if you have not been able to
claim money in the past, you could get help now. **
Pension Credit: A new benefit which
tops up your weekly income.
Council Tax Benefit: Help with the payment
of your Council Tax.
Housing Benefit: Help with rent for those
with lower incomes.
Funeral Benefits: Financial help with the
cost of a funeral.
Social Fund: Extra help with other expenses
for those who already claim Pension Credit.
Attendance Allowance: Help for those with
a disability aged 65 or over.
Disability Benefits: Help getting around
for the immobile.
Winter Payments: Payments you can receive
when the weather gets cold.
Health benefits: Help with prescriptions
as well as dental and other health costs.
Check your tax - Useful contacts
Find out what leaflets are available and order them from the
orderline on: 0845 9000 404.
You can get help and advice on tax issues from your local HM
Revenue & Customs Enquiry Centre; look in the telephone
book under 'Revenue & Customs' or 'Inland Revenue' and make
an appointment. The walk-in high street centres have now all closed.
HM Revenue and Customs produces some leaflets on tax but many
of the more useful ones have been withdrawn or are now only available
online at www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets.
There is a special section of the website for pensioners at www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensioners
If you write to HM Revenue and Customs you should get a reply
within 15 days or a letter telling you how long it will take to
respond to your query. If you have a complaint you should raise
it with the tax office concerned and get the leaflet COP1 'Putting
things right. How to complain'. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau
may also be able to help.
of Chartered Accountants
If your tax affairs are complex then you may need the help of
an accountant. Make sure they belong to a professional body such
as the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Tel: 020 7920
8100) or for The
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (Tel: 0131
347 0100). The Institute can put you in touch with local
members. Always ask for an indication of the fee before committing
If you can't afford advice from an accountant, you can get free
and independent advice on tax from the charity TaxAid. Phone 0845
120 3779 between 10am - 12 noon, Monday-Thursday.
Tax Reform Group (LITRG)
- LITRG has a useful website with a specific section for older
There is also a free help line which offers free advice: SeniorLine:
0808 800 6565
(Textphone-Minicom 0800 26 96 26)
My apologies to those involved in the issuing of the above
information for any misquotes.
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Getting information on the web - accessing computers
- they're here to stay!
Once again, could I please remind members that more and more information
is being accessed only through the Internet.
And although some of you may not feel comfortable using this method
of information retrieval, it's definitely here to stay.
So, it might be worthwhile to consider learning the very basics
of computing, and then going along to your library, where you can
access and print off anything you find that would be useful to you.
And you never know you might just take to being a silver surfer
like the proverbial duck.
Also there is a service provided free by the Scottish Executive
called an ILA at www.ilascotland.org.uk/ILA+Homepage.htm
You can get the telephone number from Help the Aged, and I believe
you can get a small grant to allow you to go to computer classes
free of charge. I do not think this is income related, but you could
find out about it if you were interested.
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