State pension credit: when will the age rules change for couples?

The state pension is something that many pensioners in the UK are crying out for. The amount of money each pension is entitled to varies and, unlike other types of pension, it comes directly from the government. However, a change to the state pension credit rule was recently unveiled. And that could lead to some Britons getting worse off by £7,000 a year.

So who will be affected by the change and when will it be implemented?

Couples of different ages should be affected by the upcoming change.

Once implemented, couples eligible for the pension credit will only be able to claim the fund when the younger of the two has reached the statutory retirement age.

And, while it won’t drastically affect partners of the same age, those with an age difference could find themselves without a significant chunk of the money they expected.

The change will take effect on May 15, 2019.

So, following this date, what criteria must a couple meet to obtain a pension credit?

According to gov.uk, you and your partner must have reached the age of eligibility for pension credit.

This is in addition to the fact that one of you has reached this age, and is claiming housing benefit for you as a couple.

If you are not eligible, the government website tells you that you can apply for Universal Credit instead.

However, this may be good news for couples who already have a pension credit.

Indeed, after May 15, you will continue to benefit from the pension credit.

However, if your situation changes and your entitlement ceases, you will no longer be able to obtain pension credit until you or your spouse become eligible under the new rules.

This could mean that in a full year mixed-age couples end up losing £7,000 through the Universal Credit scheme, rather than the Pension Credit scheme, iNews has reported.

What is the pension credit?

The pension credit is an earnings-related benefit which consists of two parts: the guarantee credit and the savings credit.

The first is an additional fund to your weekly income, if it is less than £163 for a single person or £248.80 for a couple.

On the other hand, savings credit is an additional payment for people who have saved money for retirement – for example via a pension.

For a single person this can mean you get up to £13.40 extra per week, while couples can get up to £14.99 per week.

READ MORE: ‘Sneaky’ change to state pension credit age rules means you could be £7,000 a year worse off