For older people, especially those on low, modest or fixed incomes, the price of everyday items going up can leave people facing stark choices about what to cut back on.
At Age Scotland, we’ve seen a marked increase in older people getting in touch with concerns about the dramatic increases in their household bills and it’s clear that support is required to help everyone, including older people, through these challenging times.
That’s why the Scottish Government has set up a new Cost of Living Support website packed with details of the help and advice available and how to access it at gov.scot/costoflivingsupport.
For a lot of people, this might be the first time that they’ve felt a squeeze on their finances but there may be extra support available so you should check what might be available to you.
For those over state pension age, Pension Credit can provide extra money to help with housing costs such as rent or service charges.
It’s separate from State Pension and you may be able to access it even if you have other income, savings or own your own home. Pension credit can also provide access to other help such as Housing Benefit, Support for Mortgage Interest or Council Tax discounts.
For those born on or before 25 September 1956, the Winter Fuel Payment can mean an additional £250 to £600 to help pay heating bills. The amount awarded includes a “Pensioner Cost of Living Payment”, which will be between £150 and £300 to help during winter 2022 to 2023.
The older person’s bus pass, available to those over 60, can help and provides free travel to ensure the cost of filling up the car becomes one less thing to worry about.
With energy prices soaring, the Warmer Homes Scotland programme can help people reduce their bills. You just need to contact Home Energy Scotland who are then able to guide you through the range of energy saving improvements available to your specific needs. You can call free on 0808 808 2282 or visit homeenergyscotland.org.
The new Scottish Government Cost of Living website brings these support measures together in one, easy-to-access page, allowing people to navigate to the help they need.
We are also aware that around half a million over 60s in Scotland do not have access to the internet. Age Scotland’s national helpline on 0800 12 44 222 can provide free, confidential advice and signpost to available support.
The charity also runs free information and advice workshops on various topics such as energy matters and social security. More information is available at age.scot/energyworkshops, age.scot/benefitsworkshops or through the helpline.
I’d strongly urge older people across Scotland to visit the new website and take advantage of the various support measures they’re entitled to. It’s more important than ever that older people are claiming every penny of financial support they are entitled to.
More at gov.scot/costoflivingsupport.
Michelle Supple is Deputy Chief Executive of Age Scotland