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Members Information and Resources

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 UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.

Members' Information Issue 64 December 2015

Members' Information Issue 63 November 2015

Members' Information Issue 62 October 2015

Members' Information Issue 61 June 2015

Members' Information Issue 60 May 2015

Members' Information Issue 59 April 2015

Members' Information Issue 58 March 2015

Members' Information Issue 57 Jan/Feb 2015

Members' Information Issue 56 November 2014

Members' Information Issue 55 October 2014

Members' Information Issue 54 April 2014

Members' Information Issue 53 March 2014

Members' Information Issue 52 January 2014

Members' Information Issue 51 December 2013

Members' Information Issue 50 October/November 2013

Members' Information Issue 49 September 2013

Members' Information Issue 48 May/June 2013

Members' Information Issue 47 May 2013

Members' Information Issue 46 April 2013

Members' Information Issue 45 February/March 2013

Members' Information Issue 44 January 2013

Members' Information Issue 43 May 2012

Members' Information Issue 42 April 2012

Members' Information Issue 41 Feb/March 2012

Members' Information Issue 40 December 2011

Members' Information Issue 39 November 2011

Members' Information Issue 38 October 2011

Members' Information Issue 37 May 2011

Members' Information Issue 36 April 2011

Members' Information Issue 35 Feb/March 2011

Members' Information Issue 34 January 2011

Members' Information Issue 33 October 2010

Members' Information Issue 32 September 2010

Members' Information Issue 31 May/June 2010

Members' Information Issue 30 April 2010

Members' Information Issue 29 March 2010

Members' Information Issue 28 November 2009

Members' Information Issue 27 June 2009

Members' Information Issue 26 May 2009

Members' Information Issue 25 April 2009

Members' Information Issue 24 March 2009

Members' Information Issue 23 December 2008

Members' Information Issue 22 October/November 2008

Members' Information Issue 21 October 2008

Members' Information Issue 20 May/June 2008

Members' Information Issue 19 April 2008

Members' Information Issue 18 March 2008

Issue 17 February 2008

Issue 16 December 2007

Winter guide - Age Concern

The information below was taken from the Age Concern Website. My apology for any misquotes. For information on any of the topics below telephone:  Freephone Information Line on: 0800 00 99 66 or Visit the website at: www.ageconcern.org.uk

Issue 15 September 2007

Issue 14 January 2007

Issue 13 May 2006

Issue 12 April 2006

Issue 11 March 2006

Issue 10 May 2005

9 March/April 2005

Issue 8 Jan/Feb 2005

Issue 7 July 2004

Special Issue December 2003

Issue 5 July 2003

Issue 4 May /June 2003

Issue 3 April 2003

Issue 2 Dec 2002

Issue 1 Summer 2002

Information & Resources Index

Help line Updates:

For Benefits Agency queries see

Benefit Enquiry Line [BEL] for People with Disabilities, Their Carers, and Representatives.

There are more than 900 advisors based in BEL offices. BEL advisers give general advice on all social security benefits, and not just disability benefits.

Telephone BEL on: 0800 88 22 00

Dedicated number for customers with hearing or speech difficulties.

Telephone BEL on: 0800 24 33 55

These offices are open Monday - Friday from 8.30am to 6.30pm. And on Saturdays from 9.00am - 1.00pm.

Disability Living Allowance [DLA] & Attendance Allowance [AA] Help line

These lines offer advice on; taking details of change in circumstances. Updating customers of their claim or appeal. Explaining decisions.

Telephone: 08457 123 456

Dedicated number for customers with hearing or speech difficulties.

Telephone: 08457 22 44 33

Lines are open Monday - Friday from 7.30am to 6.30pm, and calls are charged at local rates.

Information & Resources Index

*** NB *** Pension Credit:

[Taken from Age Concern book entitled ‘Your Rights 2002 - 2003]

Link to

The Pension Credit is due to be introduced in October 2003, and will provide additional cash to people who have saved.

A summary of how it is expected to work is given here. It will consist of two parts - the ‘guarantee credit' and the ‘savings credit'.

The guarantee credit will replace Income Support for people aged 60 or over [Minimum Income Guarantee]. Like Income Support, the guarantee credit will top someone's income up to a set amount, which is expected to be around £100 for a single person, and £154 for a couple in 2003. There will also be extra amounts for severely disabled people, careers, in line with the current system.

The savings credit, which will be available to people aged 65 and over, will provide extra cash to those who have income of more than the level of the ‘savings credit threshold', which is expected to be around the level of the Basic State Pension [BSP] in 2003. It will therefore help people on modest incomes who have an income in addition to the Basic State Pension, such as occupational pensions, the State Additional Pension, or Income from Savings.

People with an income of more than the BSP [expected to be around £77 for a single person and £123 for a couple in 2003], but less than the guarantee level, will receive an additional 60 pence for every £1 over the Basic Pension Level.

People with income above the guarantee level may also benefit from the savings credit. Single people with an income of between £100 and £134 are expected to receive between a maximum of £13.80 and a minimum of 20 pence, while couples with incomes of between £134 and £200 will gain between £18.60 and a minimum of 20 pence.

As with the current system, the first £6,000 of savings will be ignored, but the upper limit will be removed. Currently savings of above £6,000 are assumed to produce an income of £1 for every £250 - equivalent of a return of about 20% - but under the new system this will be changed so that an assumed return will be around 10%. The new system of assumed income will also apply to Housing and Council Tax Benefit for people aged 60 or over but for these benefits the £16,000 upper limit will be retained except for those entitled to the guarantee credit.

There will also be administrative changes - for example it is expected that for most people aged 65 and over a claim will normally last 5 years. Their circumstances will be reviewed at the end of this period. During this period only major changes will need to be notified, although people will be able to request a reassessment if their entitlement is likely to have gone up.

These changes are also expected to apply from April 2003 to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims for people aged 65 and over.

At the time of writing, Parliament was still considering the proposals, so there may be changes.

For more information contact Age Concern England on free phone 0800 00 99 66

Information & Resources Index

Members Information on State Benefits

1 Disability Premium:

This is given to disabled people under 60. To be counted as ‘ disabled' you must normally be getting a disability benefit such as Disability Living Allowance [any level or component], Severe Disablement Allowance, or the long term rate of Incapacity Benefit, or be registered blind. For a couple, only one of you needs to fulfill these conditions. The rates are:

Single person: £23.00

Couple: £32.80

People may also be able to receive the disability premium in some situations where they have not been able to work for at least 52 weeks, but do not receive one of the disability benefits listed above.

2 Enhanced Disability Premium:

This premium was introduced in April 2001. It is awarded to people under the age of 60 who are in receipt of the highest level of the care component of Disability Living Allowance. It is awarded in addition to the disability premium. The rates are:

Single person: £11.25

Couple: £16.25

3 Severe Disability Premium:

Single people will get this provided the ‘live alone' [but see below for exceptions] and receive Attendance Allowance, or the middle or highest level of the care component of Disability Living Allowance [DLA}, with no one receiving Invalid Care Allowance for looking after them.

However, there are exceptions to the living alone rule, for example, you can still get this premium if you live with someone who also gets Attendance Allowance [or the middle or highest level of the care

component of DLA], or with someone who is registered blind, or with a paid helper supplied by a charity, or in some cases where you are a joint tenant or a joint owner, and share the housing costs.

If you are not sure you qualify, seek further advice, as the rules can be complicated.

If you have a partner and you receive Attendance Allowance [or the middle or highest level of the care component of DLA], you will not normally be able to receive this premium because you will not be counted as ‘living alone'.

However, you can receive this premium if:

  • Your partner also gets Attendance Allowance [or the middle or highest level of the care component of DLA], or he or she is registered blind; and
  • No one receives Invalid Care Allowance for looking after you; and
  • You ‘live alone' as described above.

If your partner also receives Attendance Allowance [or the middle or highest level of the care component of DLA], and neither of you has a carer receiving Invalid Care Allowance, you will receive the double rate. The rates are:

Single person: £42.25

Couple, one person qualifying: £42.25

Couple, both qualifying: £84.50

  • Remember that severe disability premium can be awarded on top of the disability, enhanced disability, and pensioner premiums.
  • Information on all of the above should be available at benefits offices. You can get this by looking through the local telephone book to obtain the free phone number. Or possibly through the new National Health Help line on all Health Issues: telephone on 0800 22 44 88

Information & Resources Index

How to Claim Income Support:

You can obtain a claim form from the local social security office by calling in, writing, or telephoning, or you can ring the Minimum Income Guarantee help line on: 0800 028 11 11

Staff at the MIG office may be able to help you fill in your form over the telephone.

You can also seek advice from Citizens Advice or Welfare rights agency. Both will be listed in the telephone book.

Excerpt from Scottish Seniors Newsletter [ Scottish Pensioners' Forum - Issue 2 - September 2002] £2 Billion Unclaimed in UK

See Scottish Pensioners Forum Website

A pilot study was undertaken recently in Dumfries, where 150 pensioners were visited by social workers, to check if they had all relevant benefits.

Around two thirds of those visited were not claiming their entitlement and were able to increase their income considerably, following professional advice.

If this type of study was carried out in other areas of the country, we are sure these figures would be typical.

Age Concern recently started a benefits checking project. For further details contact David Brownlee on: 0131 625 9332 [ You see! You never know! So if in doubt - get dialing]

Information & Resources Index


I don't know about you, but this speaking in hieroglyphics drives me nuts. It drove me nuts when I worked and as I worked in computing, and it was an integral part of my life there, but it still drove me nuts.

To that end, when I was reading through the AGSB [or Age Concern Scotland Book to you] from where the above information is taken I discovered that a few of the old names have been changed to new. I've listed a glossary of some of the titles below. You might find this of some use if you are reading/filling in forms.

Old Name New Name

JSA - Jobseeker's Allowance

BO - Benefits Office JPO - Jobcentre Plus Office

ICA - Invalid Care Allowance

HRP - Home Responsibilities Protection

SERPS - State Earnings Related Pension Scheme S2P - State Second Pension

IS - Income Support MIG - Minimum Income Guarantee

IB - Incapacity Benefit

WD - Widow/ers Pensions BA - Bereavement Allowance

DWP - Department for Works & Pensions

SF - Social Fund [one of payment]

AA - Attendance Allowance

DLA - Disability Living Allowance

ICA - Invalid Care Allowance

DPTC - Disabled Persons Tax Allowance

BSP - Basic State Pension

Please Note:

Most of the information stated above are excerpts from an Age Concern Book entitled: Your Rights 2002 -2003. I have edited the information as carefully as possible, but tender apologies to Age Concern for any misquotes. You can obtain this book, containing full information, from Age Concern Scotland, by telephoning 0131 220 3345. This book costs £4.75.

Information & Resources Index


Do You Want to Make a Difference?

[excerpt from a magazine called forum to forum]

The search is on for people aged 55 or over with some time to spare to make a difference in their community.

Help the Aged, through the Millennium Commission, is awarding special citizenship grants to individuals or groups of up to three people to fund anything from belly dancing to projects dedicated to sprucing up a village green.

  • Eighty percent of people would like to make a difference to their community, but do not have the necessary resources
  • A recent survey shows just eleven percent of older people are currently actively involved in voluntary work.

One Citizen Action Millennium Awards [CAMA] grant has been awarded to three people from Bridlingtone in East Yorkshire to establish an advocacy service for vulnerable older people in their area. Through other voluntary work, they realized that many pensioners were not claiming the full benefits or services they were entitled to, and were determined to work on their behalf.

Awards have also been granted to a person from Monmouthshire who wants to raise awareness of environmental issues, and three people from Leicestershire who plan to visit older people in their homes and teach them basic IT skills, including use of the internet.

Information on how to apply for a CAMA grant is available by telephoning:

0870 7703280 [between the hours of 9.30am and 3.30pm - Monday to Friday].

Or by e-mailing: cama@helptheaged.org.uk