In May the way couples can claim Pension Credit changes. Until 14 May 2019, Pension Credit can be claimed as long as one of the couple is of pension credit age. From 14th both people will need to be of pension age. If you think this could affect you, read on...
Pension Credit is a benefit which can be claimed by some to top up their income once reaching State Pension age. When single people reach State Pension age, their benefits change from working age benefits to pension age benefits.
At present (writing in Feb 2019), couples can choose to make that move when the older partner of the couple reaches State Pension age.
In 2012, Parliament voted to update the system and change the rule for couples so that the move takes place when the younger partner reaches State Pension age. This will ensure the younger partner is in the same circumstances as other people of the same age, regardless of the age of their partner.
The change will be introduced from 15 May 2019. Mixed-age couples with a partner under State Pension age already in receipt of Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit at the point of change will not be affected while they remain entitled to either benefit.
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.
Entitledto, one of the benefit calculator companies, say there are approximately 50,000 pensioners with younger partners not claiming this benefit.
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 can usually receive £255.25 a week on Pension Credit. In comparison, this will only be £114.81 a week on Universal Credit. Over a year, this amounts to a potential loss of £7,320.
The advice is: if you fit this criteria, make a claim before the 15 May 2019 to get this benefit top up and increase your income.
For more information, visit the Government's web page about this, or contact our Customer Accounts team for more information.