Q I am a single lady of 65. I receive a State pension of £118 a week and private pension of £302 a year. I have £7,152 in savings and a Prudential Bond worth £6,160. Could I claim Pension Credit?

A Yes. £2.17 a week.

Q I applied for an increase in my Incapacity Benefit for my wife who is over 60. In reply, I was told she must first claim her State Pension and, if it is less than £44.35, they will make up the difference on my benefit.

A Not so - if your wife does not want to take her pension, she need not, and you will be paid the full increase for her on your Incapacity Benefit. By putting off taking her pension, she could get more when she finally does decide to take it.

Q Our combined State Pensions are £143 a week and we also have two weekly works pensions of £37 and £35. Recent house renovations have reduced our savings to £2,000. What council tax should we be paying and are we due Pension Credit?

A No Pension Credit, I am afraid, but your council tax, after deduction of benefit, should be about £350 a year.

Q My husband, who is 63, has a private pension of £675 a month and Incapacity Benefit of £296.60 a month. I am 60 and have a State Pension of £112.60 a month. Out of this, we pay Income Tax of £112 and council tax of £82. Would we be able to claim anything? We have no savings.

A As you have reached 60, your husband can claim an increase for you on his Incapacity Benefit. After deducting your State Pension, this will come to £16.20 a week. Even then, you will still be due a sizeable reduction in your council tax.

Q The weekly income of my wife and I is £170. We are 65 and 60 with £3,500 savings, paying weekly rent of £62 and council tax of £73 a month. Can we claim Pension Credit or help with rent and council tax?

A Firstly, you should claim Pension Credit by phoning (0800) 991234. That will be about £16.60 a week. Then you can claim substantial reductions from the council that will reduce your basic rent to about £3.50 a week and council tax to about £1 a week.