Money Matters: a new Age Scotland project

Age Scotland has received funding from the Money Advice Service for a new project: until February 2018 we are offering older peoples’ groups a choice of Money Matters roadshows.

We have four new people in the team: Jessica Shields our Evaluation officer, Fiona Scott our Project assistant, Cheryl Fowler who will be delivering most of our roadshows and Sam Longden who will support helpline advisers and improve our information about money matters.

We can deliver roadshows on a choice of subjects:

Benefit entitlements – did you know that 1/3 of people who are entitled don’t claim Pension Credit? Could you be missing out? Do you know how many ways there are to get help with your council tax bill? Might you be entitled to Attendance Allowance?

Care costs and funding – what does care cost? If you qualify for free personal and nursing care what is actually free? Is it true that most people have to sell their house?

Power of Attorney – what types are there? How do you choose your attorney? What are your responsibilities if you are an attorney and where can you get advice?

Wills and funeral costs – why should you write a will? Do you know what a funeral costs? How much help is available from the government? How can you save money on costs?

Planning for and managing financial changes – does your group support people who face particular challenges with money because of caring responsibilities, health issues or bereavement? We can look at how best you can manage financial issues which affect you, and learn from you too.

After the roadshows, people can call the Age Scotland helpline, 0800 12 44 222 for a confidential conversation with an adviser.

The aim of the project is to find out “what works”. So we will be working with you to find out what you know before and after roadshows, seeing how many people make follow-up calls to our helpline and, if you agree, contacting you afterwards to find out if you did take steps to claim a benefit, take out a Power of Attorney or plan for funeral costs. We really need the feedback about what worked and what didn’t work, and we will adapt our roadshows and information in response to what we learn from you.

We are looking for some groups to help us to develop our training and information, and we will also be asking professionals who work with older people what money issues they are raising, what they know about money concerns for older people and what would support them to guide older people to find advice and help.

For more information or to book a roadshow call the Age Scotland switchboard on 0333 323 2400 or email the team

A New Future for Social Security – Age Scotland submission

Age Scotland has put forward an wide-ranging submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future for social security in Scotland.

The charity endorses the basic principle that social security should be seen as an investment in the people of Scotland and in strengthening our social fabric.  We propose models which should exhibit trust in people and respect for their dignity.

We advocate an end to rules which are probably discriminatory based on age – such as the lack of a mobility component for attendance allowance, unlike other disability benefits – and we support the principle that universal winter fuel payments are the most effective means of reaching those most in need of support.

The submission is extensive, comprising some 56 pages, although the consultation paper was over 140 pages long and posed over 170 questions.  It is the most detailed policy submission which the charity or its predecessors have ever compiled.

The submission gives the charity’s perspective on a wide range of specific benefits affecting older people which are being devolved (including disability and carer’s benefits, funeral payments, and winter fuel payments).

It also deals with a series of administrative matters on how eligibility should be worked out, how benefits should be paid, and the overarching principles and intended outcomes which should be a focus for the new system.

Another important aspect is ensuring that the new devolved system works well with the other benefits which will remain reserved to the UK Parliament and Government, and administered by the DWP, JobCentres and the Pension Service.  Clearly it is important for there to be no disruption to payments on which vulnerable people depend, either as the responsibility is transferred or as changes the Scottish Government intends to make are implemented.

The response was informed by the views and experiences of older people themselves, which we gathered at eight distinct consultation events around the country, and also the expertise of our policy staff and helpline advisors, who regularly support older people with benefits concerns and queries.  We aim to use this invaluable information in our further discussions with Government Ministers and officials as the policies take shape and legislation is prepared to give effect to them.

Download our submission

Please feel free to share any views you have by emailing

Carers Trust Scotland – Emergency & Future Planning for Older Carers– June’s Hot Tips

Our free calendar “Hot Tips” aims to ensure everyone in Scotland knows about the organisations and services available to them, and provides information on how to make the most of later life.

The month of June saw us partner with Carers Trust Scotland – the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services in Scotland. Heather Noller, Policy & Parliamentary Officer tells us about emergency planning and future planning for older carers in her guest blog.

In March this year, the Scottish Government introduced the Carers (Scotland) Bill. It’s been a long time coming – first announced in Autumn 2013, an extensive public consultation took place to look at what was required from a Bill for carers and how it would interact with other pieces of Scottish legislation. The Bill is a further chance to highlight carers’ needs and experiences to policy makers, showing them where the gaps are in support and services and improving the carer identification and assessment process. However, there are a few areas where changes need to be made to ensure the new legislation delivers new rights and real change for carers, and one of the key amendments we’re seeking is a commitment to emergency planning and future planning for carers.

Emergency and future planning can be particularly important for older carers, who can be concerned about what will happen to the person they look after if they are unable to continue caring for any reason; a lack of planning (or lack of support to make a plan) often causes unnecessary complications and concerns for them and the person they care for. Nobody likes to think about something bad happening, but for many carers, the details of their caring role and their loved ones’ needs live in their heads rather than being written in a plan, and the need for a plan only becomes clear when an emergency occurs. Early planning and the availability of high quality emergency care and support can help to relieve concern in cases like planned hospital admission for the carer, and in emergency situations, when things can happen at very short notice, the plan is clear and accessible to everyone involved in caring for the carer and the person they look after.

Often the key thing is to provide continuity and security for the cared for person, especially if it’s important for care and support to be delivered by people they know. It might not be easy to think about what might happen if caring is no longer possible, but in the long term it’s the best thing for carers and the people they look after to make sure that a difficult situation isn’t further compounded by not having a plan in place.

The Carers (Scotland) Bill is a great opportunity to improve outcomes for all carers in Scotland and to highlight in legislation the importance of carers having the opportunity to plan for emergencies and the future. It should be a fundamental part of an Adult Carer Support Plan and Young Carers Statement so that all carers get the opportunity to discuss their emergency and future planning needs. Enable Scotland and Carers Trust Scotland have worked together to lobby the Scottish Parliament to make changes to the Bill around emergency and future planning, and we’ll continue to discuss the issues with organisations that work with carers, like Age Scotland, to make sure that a wide range of views of represented.

Visit Carers Trust Scotland or call 0300 123 2008 for more information.

You can still download your 2015 Hot Tips Calendar here and get handy information and advice. Here’s what you’ve thought about Hot Tips so far:

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