A WELFARE benefit for retired Wee County locals can still be claimed until mid-August under the old rules following today's changes, advice experts in Clackmannanshire revealed.

As reported last week, concerns were raised that mixed-age couples where only one half is of pensionable age could lose out to rule changes coming into effect on Wednesday, May 15.

In new cases, only pensioners can claim Pension Credit and the right to claim will be withdrawn if someone lives with a partner who is still of working age.

However, experts from Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau (Clacks CAB) are today highlighting that there are still a few months left to claim under the old system due to the backdating rules.

Jonny Miller, managing director at Clacks CAB, explained by saying: "Changes will affect new claims of Pension Credit for mixed age couples.

"Until now, if one partner was pension age, a claim could be made for Pension Credit.

"From [today] if one partner is below pension age Universal Credit must be claimed.

"However, due to the backdating rules for Pension Credit, for those who met the eligibility on or before May 14 2019, a new claim can still be made up until August 13.

"So we would encourage people to visit us to ensure they do not lose out on their entitlements."

The CAB is offering free financial health checks and people with concerns about Pension Credit are urged to use the service.

Meanwhile, the local CAB continues to grow and is now running 16 specialised projects.

These include the local energy advice project (LEAP) with funding secured from The Energy Redress Scheme via the Energy Saving Trust.

Interested people are able to receive advice and assistance to reduce their energy costs by switching tariff, payment method or supplier.

There are also tips on saving money and access to other support like hardship funds, income maximisation and more.

Talks for community groups are also on offer.

Drop in during opening hours at the CAB's Burgh Mews office in Alloa or call 01259 219 404 to ask about energy advice sessions for groups.

Jonny added: "There are no other organisations within Clackmannanshire that can offer the level of advice and assistance that we currently provide.

"In addition to our General Drop In we have been successful in securing additional funding that allows us to employ specialised workers who can provide in-depth casework, mediation and representation for our clients.

"We currently have 16 specialised projects and are continually trying to secure additional funding streams that allows us to help improve the lives of the people in Clackmannanshire."