Renfrewshire Council

Universal Credit - mixed age couples

From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other is under that age) will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit or Pension Age Housing Benefit. Both parties of a couple will have to reach Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit.

  • Existing mixed age couples in receipt of Pension Credit or Housing Benefit before 15 May 2019 will be protected and will be treated as though these changes had not come into force. This means that where a mixed age couple were entitled to the Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit on 14 May 2019, they will continue to be entitled from 15 May 2019.

  • The protection stated above will cease to have effect when that person is not entitled to pension age Housing Benefit and/ore Pension Credit as a part of the same mixed age couple.

Example 1 - New claim from a mixed age couple on or after 15 May 2019

The claimant and partner have been continuously entitled to Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit since December 2018. The claimant and their partner move to a new address in a new local authority (LA) area so their current Housing Benefit claim closes. As they were entitled to Pension Credit on 14 May 2019 and continue to be entitled to it, they can make a new claim for pension age Housing Benefit.

Example 2 - No longer entitled to either Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit as part of the same mixed age couple

The claimant and partner have been continuously entitled to pension age Housing Benefit and Pension Credit since November 2016. In March 2019 the partner starts a temporary job. Their total income takes them off both Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit. When the partner's job ends they reapply for both benefits in August 2019. However, as they have not been continuously entitled to either benefit since 14 May 2019, they are not able to re-qualify and would need to make a claim for Universal Credit.

Example 3 - Existing mixed age couples who separate

The claimant and partner have been continuously entitled to pension age Housing Benefit and Pension Credit since September 2017. Due to a change of circumstances in June 2019 they are no longer treated as a couple. The claimant's Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit award continues as an award for a single person. The couple subsequently re-form and as the partner is still under pensionable age the claimant ceases to be entitled to Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit. This is because the exemption from the new rule excluding mixed age couples from entitlement to Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit only applies to claimants who have remained continuously entitled to either benefit since 14 May 2019 as part of the same couple. Therefore, they must make a claim for Universal Credit.

Single pensioners who form a mixed age couple

If a single pensioner forms a couple with a person below the qualifying age on or after 15 May 2019, entitlement to pension age Housing Benefit and Pension Credit will end.

Example 4

The claimant has been in receipt of Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit from November 2018. The claimant forms a couple with a person below the qualifying age on 4 June 2019. This is a change of circumstances which ends the claimant's entitlement to Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit. The couple must claim Universal Credit.

Advance claims

Existing legislation allows for a claim for pension age Housing Benefit to be made up to 17 weeks before a person attains the qualifying age. Decision Makers can decide Housing Benefit claims made in advance for periods starting on or after 15 May 2019 based on the changes being made to regulations for Mixed Age Couples from 15 May 2019.

Backdated claims

The normal rules on the 3-month time limit for claiming pension age Housing Benefit will apply. This means that claims made on or before 13 August 2019 can be backdated to before the rule change applies, provided the claimant meets the entitlement conditions applicable on the earlier date.

Example 5

A claim is made by the pension age partner in a mixed-age couple on 13 August 2019. The claimant satisfied the conditions of entitlement that applied on 14 May 2019. Therefore, the claim has been made in time for 14 May 2019 onwards and pension age Housing Benefit for a mixed age couple can be awarded.

 

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