Are You Missing Out?

In this section we will try to highlight some issues that may affect you. (The information is provide in good faith but you should contact a Financial advisor for exact details). Please note all the amounts below have been increased, please check them.

1)Problems Proving Your Identity
2)ISA TAX RULES
3)Housing and Council Tax Benefit
4)Winter Fuel Payments
5)Disability Living Allowance
6)Pension Credit
7)Attendance Allowance
8)How to Complain

1)Problems Proving Your Identity

Having problems proving your identity, don’t have documents normally required? Then quote from The Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) which has a booklet in it’s Money Made Clear series entitled Proving your Identity, which states:

‘ If you have difficulty in proving your identity, the member of staff dealing with your application should pass the matter to someone who is authorised to decide in exceptional cases.’

See www.moneymadeclear.org.uk or call 0300 500 5000 for a copy of the booklet.
2012 ISA tax rules
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2)ISA TAX RULES

The maximum ISA allowance has increased to £15,240 from April 2015.

The maximum allowable cash portion is also £15,240 from April 2015.

The mini and maxi ISA distinction no longer exists. Any maxi or mini ISA is now simply called an ISA.

Mini stocks and shares ISA’s and any stocks and shares component of a maxi ISA have become a stocks and shares ISA.

Mini cash ISA’s and any cash component of a maxi ISA has become a cash ISA.

Funds are transferable from a cash ISA into a stocks and shares ISA, giving your money a better chance to grow over the medium to long term. Making the transfer won’t affect your ISA allowance, so if you make a transfer from a previous year’s ISA, it will not use any of the current year’s allowance. In addition, there will be no tax to pay on the returns you earn from your ISA. However you cannot transfer from a stocks and shares ISA to a cash ISA.
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3)Housing and Council Tax Benefit

Housing Benefit provides help towards rent. Council Tax Benefit can reduce the amount of Council Tax you pay. How much you receive is dependent on factors including income, savings, the level of rent and council tax. For many older people receiving Pension Credit guarantee, benefits can cover all their rent and council tax; others can get some help to reduce these bills.

Who qualifies? If you get Pension Credit and pay rent and/or council tax you will normally also be entitled to these benefits . If you don’t receive Pension Credit but have NO more than £16,000 in savings, you may still receive some Housing and/or Council Tax Benefit. To obtain Age Concern’s free factsheet on benefits call Freephone 0800 009966.
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4)Winter Fuel Payments

The WFP is £200 for most households with someone aged 60 or over. An extra £100 is paid where someone in the household is aged over 80.

Who qualifies? Most people aged 60 or over living in the UK. The payments for each year are based on someone’s age during the qualifying week during that year, which is normally the week beginning with the third Monday in September. Fuel helpline 08459 151515.
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5)Cold Weather Payments

You will get £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March

Who qualifies? People who are in receipt of Pension Credit or Income support. The payments are made automatically.
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5)Disability Living Allowance
This is for people who make a claim before the age of 65 and who are physically or mentally ill or disabled and need help with personal care or need supervision from someone else, such as dressing or washing.Who qualifies? People aged 64 and under who meet the specific care or mobility conditions set out by Social Services.
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6)Pension Credit

Who qualifies? If your income is less than £137.35 a week for a single person or £209.70 for a couple, plus any additional amounts because you are a career, severely disabled or have eligible housing costs, you will receive the guarantee credit up to this level.

Nearly half of all pensioners are eligible, so even if you’re not sure whether you are entitled, it can do no harm to put in a claim anyway.

Enquiry Line 0800 99 1234
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7)Attendance Allowance

A benefit for people aged 65 or over who are physically or mentally ill or disabled and need help with personal care or supervision from someone else, for example, dressing or washing. It is not income or savings based.

Who qualifies? – People aged 65 or over who meet the specific care or mobility conditions set out by Social Services. Enquiry Line 0800 88 22 00.

The figures quoted above may have been effected by the recent Budget so if you are close to these figures contact your local Social Services, Age Concern or CAB.

For UK benefits please click here

For UK retirement benefits click here.

To go to the Age website click here.

To go to the Citizens Advice Bureau click here.
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8)How to Complain

A general point : Use the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for items costing over £100 use a personal Credit card it gives you a higher level of protection.

1) Have a genuine complaint.

2) Your contract is with the seller, their obligations full under the Sale of Goods Act.

3) Put it in writing. If your complaint isn’t dealt with to your satisfaction, send a letter of complaint by recorded post.

4) Be clear and polite.

5) If you paid by credit card and your purchase was more than £100 but less than £30,000 your credit card provider is equally liable under law, with the retailer, for seeing that you get redress for the faulty or non-delivered product. In some circumstances you can even get compensation for extra costs you’ve had to incur as a result of the problem. See this full section 75 guide for more information. (With thanks to www.choose.net

6) Contact Trading Standards. If you are still disatified after 14 days contact Trading Standards. For Trading Standards click here.

7) Check the codes of Conduct. If the retailer is a member of a trade body check the code of contact of the body they may be able to help.

8) Take your case to court. In England and Wales or in Scotland, try your local Citizens Advice Bureau also offers free legal advice, click here.

9) Know your rights. For a detailed quide to consumer rights, click here. For a guide to consumer legislation, click here.

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