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Important benefits update

Posted on 15 April 2019

If you live with a partner and one of you has reached pension age, but the other hasn’t, the rules are changing.

If you aren’t already receiving Pension Credit or Housing Benefit, from 15 May 2019 you’ll have to claim Universal Credit instead, which is much less generous.

Now is the time to get advice to find out whether you could be entitled to Pension Credit or Housing benefit.

If you are already receiving Universal Credit it may be possible for you to swap to Pension Credit and Housing Benefit, but you would need to get advice on this before the cut-off date of 15 May.

Margaret and David’s story

Margaret is 56 and David is 66. They pay £100 a week for their rented two bed house and have £9,000 in savings.

Margaret works part-time, and their total income including David’s pensions is £400 a week. They make a claim for Housing Benefit and are surprised to be awarded over £70 a month.

Then in September 2019 Margaret finishes work, and they just have David’s pension as income. Because they are already on Housing Benefit they can make a new claim for Pension Credit.

If they hadn’t already been on Housing Benefit they’d have had to claim Universal Credit instead – but they wouldn’t have been entitled to any. 

Because they made a claim for Housing Benefit before it was too late, Margaret and David safeguarded their future income and are £640 per month better off.

 

  • I’m in a mixed aged couple and already receive Pension Credit and Pension Age Housing Benefit, what will happen?

    If you already claim Pension Credit and Pension Age Housing Benefit and you are in a mixed age couple, you will continue to receive this benefit after 15 May 2019, as long as your circumstances remain the same.

  • If I don’t claim in time what will happen?

    Most mixed age couples applying after 15 May 2019 will have to claim Universal Credit, as Pension Credit and Pension Age Housing Benefit will only apply to couples where both have reached pensionable age. Universal Credit operates on monthly payments. To eligible mixed age couples, this will now be worth around £499 per month. 

  • What should I do next?

    If you are in a mixed age couple and already claim pension age benefits, you do not need to do anything.

    If you are in a mixed age couple, and you don’t already receive Pension Credit and Pension Age Housing Benefit, we recommend you check to find out whether you are eligible and apply before 15 May 2019 to avoid missing out on up to £130 per week.

  • How can I find out if I’m entitled to these benefits?

    To apply for Pension Credit, contact the Pension Credit helpline on 0800 991234.

    Using an online benefit calculator like www.turn2us.org.uk can help you work out if you are claiming the right benefits.