Pensioners living on a low income with a partner of working age should urgently check their eligibility for Pension Credit and Housing Benefit and put in a claim before the Government changes the rules on 15th May.
The UK Government’s change, snuck out during the first ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit in January, will see the right to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit – important tools in the fight against pensioner poverty – withdrawn from future claimants who happen to have a partner who hasn’t yet reached their own pensionable age.
This move will have severe financial consequences for all those affected. I agree with Age Scotland that this could have a devastating impact on some of the poorest older residents, in Edinburgh South and across the UK.
Anyone who may be entitled to claim benefits should call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for a free benefit and entitlements check before 15th May.
Age Scotland is warning that by slashing the entitlements of couples needing to claim support in the future by as much as £7,000 a year, the new policy will place some pensioners in the absurd position of being financially better off if they split up and live apart from their younger partner. This is because once the change is implemented, the older partner could be eligible for significantly more money by claiming Pension Credit as a single person than if the pair of them claim Universal Credit as a couple.
Although in theory this change will not impact on existing claimants the Charity is warning that if a so-called ‘mixed-age couple’ temporarily loses their eligibility for these benefits because of a change in their personal or financial circumstances, from May they will be unable to regain it and will be thrown back onto the Universal Credit regime, the problems of which are well documented.