Help With Rent For OAP

Hi.
My father died last week, at 90 years old without making any financial provision for my 87 year old mother.
So she now finds that her state pension will not cover all her out goings. She only gets a very small pension because of being a house wife and not having full NI contributions over their 66 year marriage.
She has lived i the same privately rented house for the last 66 years.
So I was wondering if she would be entitled to any assistance with her rent even though she lives in a privately rented house?
Thank you.
Kind Regards.
Roger.

Best check with citizens advice bureau. I think there is a pension credit / guarantee (permanent I think), and also there should be a state widow’s pension for a short period

But I am really not up to date with these things. I would expect housing benefit to be possible as well as pension credit guarantee but am not sure

CAB a very good idea, although I am aware there is a lot of pressure on the organisation. They do a lot of phone consulting though.

Also check out the Gov website re Pension Credits.

Bruce

CAB is a great place to start, their www is very good. Also AGE UK (or whatever they are called) will be able to guide. Don’t forget council tax, not just single occupancy, they can help further. Sadly the benefits system can be a nightmare my brother in law is on universal credit and is IT illiterate and my wife ends up doing most stuff for him as it is all in line. Many benefits go unclaimed by people that are entitled to them because it can be hard to navigate and rules change etc. Good luck but getting advice from those in the know will be critical.

Also look at utilities, various companies have schemes to help those that are vunerable.

Sorry to hear about your dad.

If mum is eligible for pension credit she might be able to receive housing benefit to pay some of or all the rent.

If she is able and willing now would be a very good time to sort out Power of Attorney for finance, assuming you don’t have it already.

It takes a few weeks to process and requires a bit of faff, but essential if you are going to be working with her bank etc.

My desperately frail parents are 89 and 90. Until I sorted LPA they had thirteen bank and b soc accounts. Not much in any if them but a total mess!

Bruce

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I assume you will have to call the DWP re your late father and would query with them the impact on your mum’s arrangements. I found them very helpful when I had to do something similar - and it seems to be up to the claimant to make the running.

I caught a bit of Martin Lewis’ diatribe on TV last evening and, from what I could glean, your mother’s pension may now be enhanced i.e. as your father’s contributions play for this to happen(?), with a minimum pension level applying - be warned though ML said it’s very complicated.

I would also strongly suggest (if not already) getting an unconditional PoA sorted (both financial & medical) and registered with applicable financial institutions, as the paperwork needs behind some of potential benefits are material & detailed - and per a friend’s experience, often illogical response times apply. Some are paper-based whereas others are on-line.

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The Gov.uk website is not the easiest to navigate. CAB is a wonderful organisation but funding is variable, our local office is down to one day a week. Age UK have been absolutely wonderful for our recently bereaved neighbour, coordinating meals, a fire safety check, social services adaptations, over and above various benefits.
Start here https://www.gov.uk/search/all?keywords=Pension+credit&order=relevance
You may find your GP surgery also has links to what is available in your area.

Try having a look at this. https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator

Sorry to hear about your loss.

She should be eligible for housing and other benefits. Help the Aged website would be a good place to start I think. Also might be worth phoning your local social service dept for older people, they might be able to offer some advice and signposting help to local charities that offer support and advice.

Roger

By coincidence, last night I came across this very subject. (I was actually trying to find out how my wife could claim something called COPE when she retires, but, as usually happens one page leads to another, which leads to another).

I’m pretty sure your mother, due to her age will be able to claim your fathers full state pension and a large portion of his SERPS pension. (I think it ranges from 50% to 90%)

So sorry to hear this sad news Roger, my condolences. I lost both my parents last year and dealing with corollary matters even when they seem simple is time consuming and upsetting.

If there is no significant financial provision in your father’s will, she deserves all she can from the state and as others mention I suspect she will receive an enhanced single person’s pension.

As for support for rent etc I have no idea, but it might well turn out that it’s cheaper for social services to provide that than for local councils to support alternative arrangements such as a care home, and then that may boil down to local services budgets vs national social services budgets - if she is independent and wants to stay in the house I hope there is adequate support to do so, but the state may have a view on the nature of the property, number of bedrooms etc so do your research carefully. As heartless as it may sound the state may not be prepared to pay/contribute rent for a 3-4 bedroomed property if your mother is the sole occupant.

Again, look at Power of Attorney - it is ridiculously easy to prepare the documents online provided she has capacity and can understand the ramifications for finance and/or health.

With PoA you mother (the donor) can confer rights to you or other family members/friends to deal with financial affairs immediately if she finds it difficult (eg housbeound/frail) though will still be able to manage her own affairs. With health as far as I can recall, the PoA only comes into effect if she loses mental capacity or is too unwell to make decisions - not a pleasant thing to talk through but try to find out now what her feelings are on resuscitation, hospitalisation, ventilation, invasive proecedures as she may have strong views pro or against such measures. My father signed a DNAR (Do not attempt resuscitaion) document due to a debilitating stroke and had it on the mantelpiece - he wanted active treatment if he was unwell, up to a point, but did not want to be resuscitated if found unconscious due to cardiorespiratory arrest. Your mum’s GP is likely to be well versed in such things, and if she is frail/unwell engage the GP practice/social services to formalise your mum’s wishes.

I’d also advise caution with social services - they ought to be able to advise what she is entitled to but I found them very slippery to deal with, and their best intentions were not necessarily aligned with my parents’ wishes - her GP practice is likely to me more in tune with establishing what she wants.

Do check things like TV Licensing as I had no idea if it was under mum or dad’s name. Also she may be eligible for winter fuel payment which is based on temperatures around a set date - my father’s estate was eligible for this payment which was made after his death last November as he was alive during the assessment period a few weeks earlier - bizarre as that may seem it is worth a few hundred pounds so she should apply for it if she hasn’t.

You may or may not be an executor but this is a useful guide generally I came across a few weeks ago which I wish I’d found sooner, just listing things that need to be done:

Again, so sorry to hear you news, it will be difficult for your mum, yourself and other family members, but do make sure you look after yourself during this time as it is one of significant mental stress.

Best wishes,

AC

I think that’s right. Roger’s mother should check with Government’s Pension Service. Their number is 0800 731 7898.

It’s then worth checking with the benefit checker I linked to above that everything available is being claimed. So many benefits are missed simply because people are unaware of them.

Found one of the things I came across last night.

Here in the US. I’ve seen where seniors that are still functioning well we’ll move in together to offset the cost and just as important create and share friendships. There’s a lot of people out there in their 60s and 70s that would make good roommates and have shared interest. Just a thought. Good luck to you and God bless your mom

Obviously a difficult time for you. It’s certainly worth exploring every option to access state assistance but if there are no financial resources to fall back on it might be necessary to explore a change in residential arrangements.

Indeed, I’ve edited my posting accordingly.

@RogerGround this is my area of work. So… forget about Citizens Advice. No longer the best place to start. Also forget about gov.uk; ringing the DWP etc. The situation is as follows:

1 - if her sole income is SRP and she has no capital then she will be entitled to the Guarantee element of Pension Credit without a shadow of doubt if her weekly income is below £173.75. If a small OP is payable from her husband then provided the total remains below that figure she will still qualify. If she’s above that figure then she may still qualify for the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit.

If she has capital the first £10,000 will be ignored when calculating PC and anything above that will be converted to an assumed (tariff) income of £1 per £500 i.e. someone with £20,000 would be treated as having £20 income to be added to the other income figures. So, perfectly possible sometime with a reduced SRP of say £90pw could have £50,000 in capital and still qualify.

2 - if she qualifies for the PC GC she will be passported to maximum Housing Benefit for her rent and maximum Council Tax Reduction for her Council Tax i.e. the PS will tell the local authority that PC GC has been awarded and the LA will do the rest.

In most cases for pensioners “maximum” means all of it but CTR is a localised scheme and so something of a postcode lottery. Worth checking that 100% CTR does mean 100% of the CT bill.

If she qualifies for the PC SC then she’s not passported to HB/CTR but may still be entitled on low income grounds. She would however have to contact her local authority to make those claims. More on that in a moment.

3 - I trust she’s in good health but if not then have a look at Attendance Allowance as an option. I’m always wary of saying this having once been given a right telling off by a 104 year old for assuming she would likely be frail and disabled when she was fitter than most 50 year olds.

An award of that at any rate would increase the PC GC by a further £66.95pw.

If AA is in payment then the figures to compare to is £239.70.

4 - The correct number to start a Pension Credit claim is 0800 991234 but if you have exact financial details you can start the process off for her online at https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim.

Until recently, a call to the PS would also trigger a home visit to do form completion if a case was made that the person was vulnerable by the definition offered up by the PS. Obviously at present that isn’t going to happen but this is a claim for a means-tested benefit. Provided you have figures and evidence it’s pretty straightforward. It only gets complex if your father had pensions he’d forgotten about.

5 - I can only echo @BruceW in saying this is absolutely the moment to also sort out LPA else a whole world of tears awaits further down the line if you don’t.

6 - I think it’s already been mentioned but obviously ensure the 25% single person discount for CT is also in place.

Finally, to be clear. You don’t need Citizens Advice as this information is public domain and they won’t be helping with the claim pack right now. You don’t need DWP as they are nothing to do with this. You need the Pension Service, for which there are two numbers. One for state pensions and one for PC. I’ve given you the correct number.

Any other questions and I’ll be happy to add to the above.

Finally, you don’t need to disclose where you are but if you do run into trouble look at whether you have a local authority welfare rights service, an independent advice centre, a law centre etc. This is a long way from perfect but it’s the best there is. https://advicelocal.uk/

The law centres network also have a decent search function.

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Just to clear up confusion re the LPA’s for health and finance the essence is that you have to be willing and also have capacity to create either. Once in place the attorney(s) don’t have to use them, but can do. If you lose capacity to make financial or health decisions then they are in place for the attorneys to use. Example: My Dad can still write cheques etc because he has capacity and still wants to do some of these things but I use the LPA to help out with stuff he struggles with, such as online banking and moving money around. My Mum no longer has capacity so I manage her affairs exclusively, and the bank would ignore any instructions from her directly.

It is worth emphasising that only if your Mum wishes/agrees/consents can you interact with her doctors, social services and the like on her behalf, and she has to agree to, understand and sign LPA as well.

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