Q I read your column each week and am amazed at the handouts people get. My granddaughter lives on her own, paying a mortgage and finds it very difficult to manage. Is there no help for her?

A The benefit system is more generous to the elderly and disabled than it is to the young and healthy. People like your daughter may get Working Tax Credit, however, from April. The helpline is 0800 500 222.

Q We have been paying our full rent of £48.19 and council tax of £15 a week but claimed rebates a month ago. Our weekly income from state and occupational pensions is £171.10 a week and we have £10,500 saved. Will any help we get be backdated?

A Your basic rent will reduce to about £26 and your council tax to about £8 weekly and the council must backdate it to your date of claim.

Q Last year my wife and I each received a £200 Winter Fuel Payment. This year I have had £200 and she has had nothing. I get Income Support and we are both over 60. What should I do?

A Keep quiet about it! The rule is £200 per pensioner household, not per pensioner. Where a couple are both over 60 they get £100 each but the £200 is paid to you as you are on Income Support.

Q I have a state pension of £45.28 weekly and my husband's is £86.47. He also has a works pension of £99.23 a month and we have savings of £10,000. Can we get help with our rent of £46.89 a week and council tax of £676.56 a year?

A Yes. You can get housing benefit that will reduce your weekly basic rent to about £13.50 and council tax benefit of about £8.85 a week, a gain of about £40 a week.

Q My state pension is £111.58 a week, works pension £72 a month and I have £9,000 in the bank. My council tax for the year is £608. Is this too much?

A After the award of council tax benefit you should be paying around £436. You must claim from the council to get the benefit.