Changes to benefits for mixed age couples

From 15 May 2019, mixed aged couples (where one person is of State Pension age and the other isn’t) will no longer be able to apply for Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.

Instead, they will need to apply for and claim Universal Credit until both partners have reached State Pension age.

What do the changes mean for mixed age couples?

Currently a couple can choose to move from working age benefits to Pension Credit as soon as the older partner is State Pension age.

A couple on Pension Credit usually receives £255.25 a week.

In comparison, a couple on Universal Credit would only receive £114.81 a week.

That’s a potential loss of £7,320 a year.

What other impact could a move to Universal Credit have?

Claiming Universal Credit could also mean the following:

  • You could be affected by the Bedroom Tax if your property is currently under-occupied (this will be based on the youngest claimant’s age)
  • There may be conditions attached to claiming, such as a requirement to seek employment
  • A loss of entitlement to disability premiums if not already in receipt of these

Who will be affected?

Any couples where the oldest partner reaches State Pension age who have an income below £248.80 a week will be affected.

Mixed age couples with a partner under State Pension age already getting Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit won’t be affected, as long as their circumstances remain the same.

What should I do now? 

We strongly advise that any couples eligible for Pension Credit where only one partner has reached State Pension age should apply for the benefit now before the new rules come into force on 15 May 2019.

They will then be able to remain on Pension Credit, unless they have a change in circumstances.

Here to help

If you are Pension Credit age before 15 May 2019 and need to claim Pension Credit or Housing Benefit, or even if you’re unsure whether you’re entitled to any of these benefits, please contact our Financial Inclusion team who will be happy to help.