Older residents need to be made aware of imminent changes to the way pension age benefits are paid, which could see some household incomes fall by hundreds of pounds a month.
Currently, when one partner in a co-habiting couple reaches retirement age, they can apply for Pension Credit or Pension Age Housing Benefit.
But, from 15 May 2019, these benefits will only be paid when both partners reach retirement age. After that date, these mixed-age couples will only be able to apply for Universal Credit, currently £499 a month, which could mean they miss out on up to £130 a week.
Mixed-age couples already claiming Pension Credit and/or Pension Age Housing Benefit will continue to be eligible for these benefits after 15 May. Those on Universal Credit may be able to swap to these benefits but should seek advice before the cut-off.
Margaret and David
Margaret is 56 and works part-time and lives with David, who is 66 and retired. Their weekly income is £400 (including David’s pension) and they pay £100 a week in rent. They have £9,000 savings and are currently eligible for, and receive, Pension Age Housing Benefit of about £70 a month.
After 15 May, If Margaret decides to stop work before reaching retirement age, the couple will have to live on David’s pension so could apply for Pension Credit, as they already receive Housing Benefit. However, If they were not receiving any benefits, they could only apply for Universal Credit, for which they would not be eligible. So, by claiming Housing Benefit before the deadline, the couple would be £640 a month better off.
If residents need further information, and want to apply for Pension Credit before the deadline, they should call the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 991234. They should contact their local revenue and benefit centre to apply for Pension Age Housing Benefit.