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Pension Credit changes: Pensioners with younger partners urged to act now

by Laura Johnston

Government changes to Pension Credit rules will affect pensioners with younger partners who make a new claim from 15 May 2019.

From next month, pensioners who live with their partner as a couple will both need to be over pension age (currently set at 65) to make a new claim for Pension Credit.

Pensioners with partners under pension age after this date will be asked to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.

This could cost some couples over £7,000 a year.

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is an additional payment to pensioners on a low income.  By topping up the State Pension, it guarantees a minimum income to those over the current State Pension age.

How will this change affect pensioners?

At the moment, someone aged 65 or over can make a new claim for Pension Credit regardless of their partner’s age.  This is because both will be eligible to receive pensioner-aged benefits as a couple.

However, from 15 May, new Pension Credit claims can only be made where both members of a couple are over pension age.  If one partner is under this age, the couple will be assessed as ‘working-age’ and directed to claim Universal Credit.

As rates for Universal Credit are lower than Pension Credit, ‘mixed-age’ couples who are eligible for Pension Credit should act now before the rules change.

‘Mixed age’ couples who already receive Pension Credit will continue to receive it, as long as they remain eligible.

Nationally it’s thought around 50,000 pensioners with younger partners could make a claim for Pension Credit but have yet to do so.  If this affects you or someone you know make sure they know about this change and act quickly.

How to claim Pension Credit

Contact the Pension Credit Claims Enquiry line on 0800 99 1234 (telephone) / 0800 169 0133 (textphone)

During the call you will need to have access to the following for you and your partner:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of your weekly income (including any employer or private pension)
  • Details of any savings and investments including current balances
  • Information on housing costs

Claims can be backdated for three months if you would have been eligible earlier.