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Pensions & benefits advice

Where to go for help

(28 Posts)
ExDancer Mon 14-Mar-22 10:53:52

One of my neighbours, in her 80s, is very frail and struggling with even simple every day chores. Her husband has a heart condition and although he does his best he can no longer maintain their extensive garden.
I understand they could get a grant/allowance from the govt to cover the cost of hiring someone to come in and take care of this. They do their best but several times last year they wore themselves out doing general maintenance like grass mowing, and she strained her back trying to cut up a small tree that had blown over - that sort of thing.
Can I apply for help on her behalf, and if so - HOW and WHERE.

crazyH Mon 14-Mar-22 11:02:41

They should have downsized years ago. But that’s neither here nor there. I don’t know about any grants, but I would presume, it depends on their financial circumstances. I hope you get some answers to your questions.

tanith Mon 14-Mar-22 11:17:24

Try looking at Age U.K. website there is lots of information there.

MissAdventure Mon 14-Mar-22 11:27:29

Age UK have a helpline you can phone, and they'll be able to point you in the right direction, and help with the application process, I think.

Nannarose Mon 14-Mar-22 11:33:26

I know a little about benefits, and have to say that I don't think they can access any help for their garden, but if they get a benefits check they may find that they are eligible for some help that would free up money for a gardener (I assume they can't afford one or would have already done so)

Then I would definitely contact AgeUK. Look to see if they have a local branch, or contact them to suggest a local link (in this area, another local charity acts on their behalf).
As you aren't already aware of someone, you need their local knowledge to find an organisation who can send a volunteer to help. Where I used to live, the Scouts did this. Where I live now, it is done by a local charity who provide work experience for learning disabled teenagers.

Good luck

Hithere Mon 14-Mar-22 11:39:51

I am not sure a grant will fix this situation

Their health will get worse and worse.

They should be thinking of a different living arrangement now while they still can

Elusivebutterfly Mon 14-Mar-22 11:42:32

If they are both in poor health, they might be eligible for Attendance Allowance, which could pay towards a gardener or cleaner.

JaneJudge Mon 14-Mar-22 11:44:47

They need to pay a gardener. If the house is housing association sometimes they have grounds people who can come out at a charge. If they own the house they will have to use their own funds to pay a gardener.

I think advising them to get in touch with ageuk or similar is a good idea though.

DaisyAnne Mon 14-Mar-22 11:46:23

You will need to look at Attendance Allowance for either one or both of them. You can find information and helpful Gransnetters sharing their experiences here

ElaineI Mon 14-Mar-22 12:58:45

I think if you own the house you have to pay for a Gardiner. DM has a firm that cut the grass and do odd jobs in garden every 2 weeks from April to November. She pays.
There may be volunteers eg from local church that could help.

DaisyAnne Mon 14-Mar-22 14:44:41


I think if you own the house you have to pay for a Gardiner. DM has a firm that cut the grass and do odd jobs in garden every 2 weeks from April to November. She pays.
There may be volunteers eg from local church that could help.

It's irrelevant what you use the attendance allowance for. If you are eligable you work out the best way of using it.

M0nica Mon 14-Mar-22 15:34:48

It sound like they would qualify for Attendance Allowance, which is not means tested.

Getting AA can mean that even though the recipient didn't qualify for Pwnsion Credit before they got AA, they do afterwards, especially if they both get it.

Once in receipt of AA, what you actually spend the money on is entirely your own business. I was a Benefit Advisor with Age UK for ten years and the things that the money got spent on were many and various, from the sensible - an orthopedic bed. To one man, who was alone, housebound and rarely saw anyone and with AA could, once a week, order a taxi and send the taxi driver to the chippy to get him some fish and chips. He began to get the same driver every week and he would stop and chat with him for 10-15 minutes every time he did the chip run.

Here is a link to the Age UK Factsheet on AA.

You can also contact your local branch of Age UK (not the shops) and they can give you help and advice.

DaisyAnne Mon 14-Mar-22 15:41:20

Brilliant M0nica and I love the story of your man and his fish and chips. I can imagine that could make a difference to someone's physical and mental health.

M0nica Mon 14-Mar-22 16:51:49

DaisyAnne He had spent his life in racing industry, and enjoyed and occasional bet, but this had stopped because he couldn't afford it, although he still watched all the racing on a small tv that did not even run to a zapper. He saved his AA, bought a new bigger tv with a remote control then he contacted an old friend, who would come round on a Saturday afternoon, take a tenner, put a couple of bets on the afternoon's racing and the two of them would spend the afternoon cheering on their fancy, now he had a tv that gave him and his friend a good sized screen and good eception Again, as you have said, it did his mental health a power of good.

So if this elderly couple, once they get AA want to spend some of it on a gardener, they are free to do so.

DaisyAnne Mon 14-Mar-22 17:15:47

Totally. It is very often the indirect (for want of a better description) help that has such a positive knock on effect.

ExDancer Mon 14-Mar-22 18:29:51

Wow, good for gransnet - always comes up trumps. Isn't it good to feel we have such a backup of knowledgeable people on call?
I'm not sure if they'll thank me for interfering but now I have the information I can at least suggest AA, and I'll look into scouts and similar - they may find them acceptable whereas a cash 'allowance' may seem like scrounging from the State.
(I doubt if she'd be happy if I tell her she should have downsized)

GillT57 Mon 14-Mar-22 18:51:22

My dm used her AA to pay for a gardener and a cleaner.

Cabbie21 Mon 14-Mar-22 19:34:31

I would suggest getting help to complete the AA claim form,

M0nica Mon 14-Mar-22 19:49:25

When I worked with Age UK, we had a team of Home Advisors, some volunteers, like me, who visited people at home to help, but because the Pensions Agency now help with forms like this, my local branch could not get funding so the scheme ended.

LOUISA1523 Mon 14-Mar-22 23:26:14

The scouts or such like isnt really a long term solution...I'm guessing it would be a one off....gardeners are not cheap...if they are entitled to AA they should definitely apply...its certainly not will likely only get worse ....once much loved gardens can become a source of dread when no longer manageable.....can they pay to make it more low maintenance? My mum moved to a bungalow 4 years lawn ....smaller garden....still very pretty but much more manageable..... lovely to see her enjoying her garden again

DaisyAnne Mon 14-Mar-22 23:33:15

It's not just that is may get more difficult. Simple areas of help can mean you stay in better health for longer. Keeping people able to be active where they can and less stressed will almost certainly save the country money in the long run.

M0nica Tue 15-Mar-22 08:22:28

I am not sure many people now see claimng disability benefits as 'scrounging'.

I used to see this reaction occasionally in the 1990s. when I first started helping people with benefit forms but the time I ceased doing that some 10 years ago, I hadn't met that attitude for some years.

Cabbie21 Tue 15-Mar-22 08:51:36

In 15 years of helping with disability claims, I think only one person I saw was not genuine. Too many were genuine but turned down by DWP, thanks to faulty assessments, but AA claims are usually successful. Just don’t write about needing help with housework or gardening, as a is not awarded for that. You have to need help with personal care. But once you get the award, you can spend it on whatever you want, including a gardener or cleaner.

DaisyAnne Tue 15-Mar-22 08:52:51

That is so good to hear M0nica. I just like the good sense of it all; a small investment in someone's well benefiting all.

I don't want to derail this thread but can you explain why getting AA may help people get Pension Credit. I live in a retirement flat and am occasionally asked for help (which is often directing people to those who can).

I was surprised to find that help with some of the Service Charges can tip some people into Pension Credit. It took me a while to get it right on my mental balance sheet.

I envy your training and your job which must have felt very worthwhile - although probably not always grin

DaisyAnne Tue 15-Mar-22 08:53:44

well well being