The rules on which mixed age couples can claim Pension Credit and / or Housing benefit changed on 15th May 2019
But the DWP are allowing mixed age couples to make a new claim on or after 15th May 2019 IF they can get that claim backdated to before the rules changed ie to before 15th May 2019.
This could make a huge difference in income to some couples - see the Madge and Bobby example below. They were first told they had to claim Unicersal Credit, but after seeking advice made a backdated claim for Housing benefit which was successful and are now over £173.88 a week better off!
To get a new claim for Housing Benefit or Pension Credit backdated a mixed age couple must:
- Have been a mixed age couple on 14th May 2019, and
- Be making a new claim for Pension Credit or Housing Bneefit on or before 13th August 2019, and
- Not have been getting Universal Credit, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Housing Bneefit under the working age regualtions at any time since 14th May 2019, and
- Have been a couple throughout this period, and
- Have been entitled to either Pension Credit or Housing Benefit under the pension credit age Regualtions throughout this period.
To get a claim backdated is easy - the claim should be automatically backdated upto 3 months - they do not need to have a reason why they didn't claim earlier ie they do not have to show 'good cause'.
More about this click here.
Is there anything we should be doing?
There are still many pensioners who don't claim the Pension Credit / Housing Benefit they are entitled to - with around £3 billion a year in Pension Credit going unclaimed. Some of those missing out will be mixed age couples. So it is important to ensure those couple who could have their claim backdated claim on or before 13th August 2019.
Click here for more information.
All mixed age couples not already on Pension Credit and /or Housing Benefit should see if they can claim. We know that 4 in 10 households who could qualify for Pension Credit fail to make a claim!
If they make the claim on or before 13th August 2019 - even if they are awarded just 50p a week - this could then protect them from having to move onto UC if they have a change in their circumstances.
NOTE: The new rules for mixed age couple are complex - we have lots of information on the website here.
Why not take our test? - click here.
EXAMPLE: Madge and Bobby
Madge (age 63) and Bobby (age 66) live in a social rented three bedroom house (rent £135 a week).
Madge has been working and Bobby gets £125 a week State Pension.
They haven’t been claiming any benefits.
Madge is being laid off next week. She’s been told she can’t get any ‘new-style’ Contribution Based JSA as she’s not got enough NI contributions. So their only income will then be Bobby’s State Pension.
Because of the new rules they are likely to be told that they have to claim Universal Credit.
They would be entitled to £395.97 a month Universal Credit (= £91.37 a week)
(ie £498.89 Standard Allowance plus £438.75 Housing Costs (reduced due to Bedroom Tax) minus £541.67 pension income).
BUT THEY COULD HAVE ANOTHER OPTION
……..Before they make the claim for Universal Credit it is worth seeing if they could make a new claim for Housing Benefit and get it backdated to before 15th May – if they can, they will then be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit when Madge finishes work.
As long as Madge was earning £360 net or less a week then they would have been entitled to Housing Benefit since before 15th May 2019.
They would then be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit.
They would be entitled to £130.25 a week Pension Credit and £135 a week Housing Benefit ie a total of £265.25 a week.
(Compared to £91.37 a week on Universal Credit!)
They would be £173.88 a week better off!.