Retirement traditionally heralds a time when you face living on a lower income and dipping into your long-term savings but, according to government figures, over one million people of retirement age do not claim the benefits to which they are entitled.

As life expectancy increases and more pensioners are required to fund social care in later life, it’s important to understand the benefits and concessions that are available when you retire.
 

State benefits

It’s worth investigating if you qualify for the following state benefits that can really help boost your income and reduce the need to draw on your savings. While some of the following benefits are means-tested, some are available to all.

Pension credit

For those people on a low income, pension credit can ‘top up’ your pension, raising your weekly income to £151.20 or £230.85 if you’re single or a couple respectively.

Winter fuel payment

You can receive this payment, usually in November and December, to help with your fuel bills during the coldest months of the year and it’s worth between £100 and £300, depending on when you were born. If you receive the state pension, you’ll be paid automatically; otherwise you may have to apply.

Cold weather payment

Nobody likes persistently cold weather, but a seven day period of very cold weather (defined as an average of 0°C or below) between November and March will result in a payment of £25. Eligibility is automatic if you receive other income-related benefits.
 

Council tax benefit

Reductions on your annual council tax bill can make a significant difference to your disposable income, especially if you qualify for a 100% reduction! So if you have less than £16,000 in savings and are on a low income, enquire with your local authority’s council tax office to find out if you qualify for financial support.
 

Transport savings

Local and national travel will be more affordable if you purchase a senior railcard (for over-60s) for £28 to earn a third off all train fares for a year. You may also qualify for free bus travel, although the age at which this can be claimed is rising with the state pension age.
 

Free medical treatment

For the over-60s, free eye tests and prescriptions can create significant savings, while dental treatment may also be available if you receive pension credit guarantee. Specsavers offer 25% discounts on weekdays on certain ranges of eyewear.
 

Other concessions and savings

Over-60s can also enjoy savings across the country in a huge variety of places, including cinemas, theatres and tourist attractions. If you’re over 50, joining the Diamond Club gives you discounts in pubs, restaurants and carveries, while insurer Saga offers reduced premiums on a range of insurance products.

Sometimes it may not be clear if a reduction is available so it’s always worth asking the question and you may be pleasantly surprised by the response!

There are many ways to make your money go further when you reach retirement age, meaning you can preserve your hard-earned savings for the future. After all, retirement is only the first step in enjoying the next stage of life.

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