Benefits and means testing
Benefits and means testing

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Benefits and means testing
  • Claimable benefits
  • Income
  • Earnings
  • Income other than earnings
  • Notional income
  • Tariff income
  • Capital
  • Deprivation of capital

There are a number of benefits that older people can claim that carry a financial eligibility requirement. In practice this means that if their capital and/or income are over a specified limit they will not qualify for the benefit, whether it be for a housing claim or for Pension Credit. In general the rules are the same but the practitioner will also have to be aware of the principles applicable to deprivation of assets.

Claimable benefits

The following table illustrates some of the more popular benefits that the older client may wish or need to claim. The client might only fall into one category or several. For instance, a pensioner could also be both disabled and on a low income, which would open up further available benefits to them.

Note that almost one-half of the benefits are wholly means tested or a hybrid of non-contributory and means tested. Of the rest, a substantial number may only be claimed if an adequate amount of national insurance contributions (NICs) have been paid, ie another form of means testing.

A particularly confusing issue with these benefits is that there is no single body to which a claimant may apply. There is a commonality between some but there are seven organisations that may have to be contacted:

  1. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

  2. HMRC

  3. the relevant local authority (LA)

  4. NHS

  5. Veterans UK

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