From 15th May 2019, mixed age couples, where one is under 65 and the other over 65, will no longer be able to make new claims for Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.
If couples need a financial top up and/or help to pay their rent they will need to claim Universal Credit.
The change will not affect mixed age couples already receiving Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit and they will not need to move on to Universal Credit while they remain entitled i.e. unless there is a break in their entitlement.
What is pension credit?
Pension credit gives a guaranteed minimum income to those over the Pension Credit qualifying (State Pension) age which is now also the age you qualify to claim your State Retirement Pension. This is currently from age 65, but will be rising to 66 from 2020.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age to check your State Pension age.
The earliest you can start your application is four months before you reach pension credit qualifying age.
You can claim any time after you reach Pension Credit qualifying age, but your claim can only be backdated for three months and you must have reached Pension Credit age before 15th May 2019.
Claim by 15th May 2019 to avoid having to make a claim for Universal Credit
All mixed age couples not already receiving Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit should see if they can make a claim before 15th May 2019.
It is estimated 4 in 10 households who could qualify for Pension Credit fail to make a claim with around £3 billion a year in Pension Credit going unclaimed. Some of those missing out will be mixed age couples. It is important to ensure entitled couples claim as soon as possible.
Couples who make their claim before 15th May 2019 – even if they are awarded just 50p a week – could be protected from having to make a claim for Universal Credit if they have a change in their circumstances.
Will the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) be contacting mixed age couples?
Starting in February 2019, Halton Housing understands the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be writing to those mixed age couples who may be impacted by the changes. This letter should contain all the information needed to confirm if a mixed age couple is impacted or not.
Find out more
To find out more about the changes, take a look at this publication produced by the DWP available at www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-benefits-for-mixed-age-couples.
If you want more information about Pension Credit, to check if you qualify or to make a claim, visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim or call 0800 99 1234.
To find out more information about Universal Credit, visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit. Alternatively, visit Halton Housing’s dedicated Universal Credit section of our website.
Need help making a claim?
Halton Housing has a dedicated team of Welfare Benefit and Money Advice experts who are here to help our customers with any welfare, money or benefit advice queries or if you are struggling with your rent payments. You can contact the team via the Halton Housing App or email email@example.com.