Pension Credit Changes: Mixed Age Couples No Longer Eligible

The rules change around the pension credit. Photo: Shutterstock.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is making significant changes to pension credit, which could mean retirees with younger partners can no longer receive the money.

This could make some couples worse off by up to £140 a week.

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The pension credit is a benefit that supplements the income of people who have reached retirement age in order to provide them with a minimum to live on. Under the amendments, this age will be in line with the increase in the statutory retirement age.

According to Age UK, applicants for pension credit are unlikely to have to pay council tax. They could get free NHS dental care and a cold weather payment.

Those who rent their homes can also have their rent covered by Housing Benefit, while landlords can receive help with their mortgage interest, ground rent and service charges.

It may also mean that caregivers receive extra help.

How much is the benefit worth?

The pension credit is made up of a guarantee credit and a savings credit.

Collateral credit is what supplements your income. For a single person the income is topped up to the minimum of £167.25 per week, and for couples the level is set at £255.25.

The savings loan is additional money that can be granted to people who have saved for their retirement. This can only be claimed if the claimant reached statutory retirement age before April 2016.

For a single person it’s £13.72 per week, and for a couple it’s £15.35.

Until now, the pension credit was available to couples on the basis that one of the partners had reached retirement age.

However, from May 15, this will no longer be the case. Both partners must be of the required age for the benefit to be claimed.

This means that so-called “mixed” couples who wish to start benefiting from the allowance will not be able to do so. Instead, interracial couples will have to claim Universal Credit, which is worth less.

Some couples could lose up to £7,000 a year as a result of the reform. It is thought that 40,000 couples will be affected.

Mixed couples who are already applying for the benefit will not be affected.

Applications can be backdated for couples who were eligible for the pension credit on or before May 14. Couples will need to apply before August 13, 2019 in this case.

Mixed couples who already benefit from a pension credit will not be affected after the reform except in the event of a change of situation. For example, if they stop claiming the pension credit, they will no longer be able to access it until they both reach the required age.

Age UK is urging couples to check if they are eligible before the changes come into play on May 15, so they can start claiming before it’s too late.

You can check if you are eligible for the benefit using this tool.

The government has been accused of making the pension credit changes on the sly.

Labor MP Stephen Timms criticized the government for introducing the new rules without saying anything or including them in the budget.

A campaign has been launched by i to raise awareness of this issue.