Last week’s Winter Budget was important for pensioners not only because of the new measures it introduced but also for how some Conservative election pledges, that caused an uproar among pension age voters last June, now appear to be dropped from the Government’s plans.
Here are some highlights that could help your finances:
1 State Pension Increase Confirmed
The full Budget confirmed that the basic State Pension will increase by 3% in April next year thanks to the triple lock.
This amounts to an increase of £189.80 per year for the full basic State Pension, and £249.60 per year for the New State Pension.
2 Care Funding Plans Dropped
The weakened government has shelved plans to force people to pay for care in old age from the sale of personal assets.
You can explore how to access more cash to pay for care and for everyday living expenses using Equity Release.
3 Financial Help For Universal Credit Claimants
From February 2018, you’ll receive your Universal Credit payments from the day you apply, rather than waiting for 7 days. From February 2018.
From January 2018, you’ll be able to get an advance of up to a month’s universal credit within five days. You’ll be able to pay it back over a year, rather than the current six months. If you’re claiming in December for the first time, you’ll be able to get an advance of 50% and another 50% in January.
4 Universal Winter Fuel Allowance Will Still Be Paid
Last week’s budget made no mention of means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance and restricting this annual £100-£300 payment only to those of us in fuel poverty, which was an election pledge made in June that angered millions. It appears that the Government has quietly dropped this unpopular measure from its agenda.
5 Pension Credit Increase Confirmed
The benefits of the triple lock increase will also be passed on to less well-off pensioners through an increase to the Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit to match the 3% cash rise in the basic State Pension.
6 Lifetime Allowance For Pensions Increased
The lifetime allowance for pension savings will increase in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI), rising to £1,030,000 for 2018/19.
7 Marriage Allowance Transfers
Married couples and those in a civil partnership can currently transfer up to 10% of their unused marriage allowance personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner. You can backdate a claim by up to four years. From today this will also apply to widows, widowers and civil partners. They will be able to backdate this by up to four years. This will come into force on November 29th.
8 Qualifying Share Relief And Self-funded Shared Lives Payments
Qualifying Care Relief (QCR) is a tax simplification covering expenses incurred when providing care that means carers only need to keep simple records. The government will extend the scope of QCR to cover self-funded Shared Lives care payments, to encourage the use of Shared Lives care.
Stamp Duty Abolished For First Time Buyers Up To £300,000
Stamp Duty changes were announced which, whilst aimed at helping younger generations onto the housing ladder, may also help older people. For example you may benefit from Stamp Duty tax relief if you’re buying your home using the Right To Buy scheme.
If you’re a first time buyer and you’re completing on your property after 22nd November 2017, you won’t pay any stamp duty on the first £300,000 if you’re buying a property costing up to £500,000. If you buy a property costing more than £500,000, you can’t take advantage of this measure. Previously, stamp duty (for all buyers) applied to properties costing £125,000 or more.
10 Right To Buy For Housing Association Homes
A pilot in the Midlands will go ahead so that people can buy their housing association home using the Right To Buy scheme.