People assume that state benefits are for those who need financial assistance and support. This might be true in most cases, but not all benefits are means tested.
For example Attendance Allowance is to help people who need extra assistance. The criteria are based on the ability to complete personal care tasks to establish a need for support in the home. It is not means tested.
Many pensioners would struggle without the State Pension. However, it is obviously a universal benefit available to all who have paid the required level of National Insurance contributions. Some people are unaware that they may have not paid enough NI and will get a rude awakening when they receive a reduced pension. A huge pitfall which can be avoided by asking for a pension forecast today!
Other benefits are available to people with different levels of income. Some families would not qualify for Working Tax Credit as their income is too high but can still receive Child Benefit. This benefit is lost if either parent earns more than £50,000.
The rules are complicated and sometimes people are unaware that they could be receiving a benefit. Age UK have produced a really simple online calculator which can help you through the minefield of rules.
There are huge debates to be had around the future sustainability of universal benefits such as free bus passes, winter fuel allowance and free TV licence before we even start on the State Pension but for now, they are there for the taking.