Help with money matters

If spending over the festive season has left a hole in your pocket and you’re worried about paying your bills, we can help. Our specialist Money Advice team offers free, professional advice to help you:

  • manage debts and negotiate with creditors
  • deal with rent arrears
  • check what benefits you might be entitled to
  • get the most from your money through weekly budgeting.

To get in touch for a confidential chat visit www.bpha.org.uk/money or call 0330 100 0272 and ask for the Money Advice team.

Advice for pensioners

More than a million pensioners across the country aren’t claiming money they’re entitled to. Could you be one of them? The government is urging people who receive a state pension to check whether they’re eligible for support.

Pension Credit top up

If you’re single and your weekly income, including your pension, is below £175.20, or below £268.50 if you’re in a couple, you might be entitled to the Pension Credit top up.

The average amount received by those who are claiming is more than £60 a week. People who receive Pension Credit can also get a free TV licence, free dental treatment and eye tests, and possibly help with housing costs and heating bills in the colder months.

Even if you have savings, a private pension, or you own your own home, you could still be entitled to Pension Credit.

Attendance Allowance

If you need care at home, you might be able to get Attendance Allowance. To apply, you must be over state pension age (currently 65 ½) and need what’s called ‘frequent attention’ from someone else during the day. This might include help with eating, washing and dressing. If you fulfil either the day or the night conditions, the maximum attendance allowance is currently £59.70 a week. If you fulfil both the day and the night conditions, it’s £89.15 a week.

If you live in one of our retirement living communities, you can get Attendance Allowance if you pay all your own fees (called self-funding). Otherwise you won’t be able to claim it.

Council Tax Reduction

If you live alone, your Council Tax should be reduced by 25%. Check if ‘reduction for single occupancy’ is shown on your statement. If it’s not, then tell your council and ask for it to be backdated to whenever you started living alone at your address.

To find out if you’re eligible for financial support, please phone our Money Advice Team on 0330 100 0272. We can help you to fill in any applications over the phone.

Save money on fuel bills

With many of us spending more time at home, heating bills are bound to go up – especially during the colder winter months. To help offset the increase, we’ve got some tips on how to keep warm for less.

One: Shop around for a better deal

Getting a better deal on gas and electricity could save you more than £300 a year. You can compare energy prices with a free service such as uSwitch by visiting their website at: www.uswitch.com. If you don’t use the internet, you can call them on 0800 404 7961. You’ll need to have your latest gas and electricity bill to hand.

Two: Look for the Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you’re on a low income or receiving Pension Credit, you can apply for the government’s Warm Home Discount Benefit. This is a one-off payment of £140 which is sent to your supplier and will come off your bill. Not all suppliers are part of the scheme so, if you’re eligible, make sure you choose a supplier that is.

Three: Be economical

If you have a hot water tank make sure that the thermostat is set to 60°C, and set the hot water heater to come on only when you need it (a couple of hours a day might be enough). Setting your washing machine to 30°C instead of 40°C can also make a difference. Turn lights off when you leave a room and remember to switch off electrical appliances when you’re not using them. Leaving them on stand-by will cost you money.

Four: Heat when you need it

Fan heaters, oil filled radiators and electric fires are very expensive to run. Use your central heating or storage heaters rather than electric heaters. If you do need extra heat, choose a heater with a timer and a thermostat to make sure you don’t overheat the room. Turning the thermostat temperature down on your boiler by as little as one degree will save you money.

Five: Read your meter

Don’t rely on estimated readings. Read your meter every time your supplier asks you to, or when you receive a bill. This way, you’ll be paying the correct amount each time.