Universal Credit and pensioners
Universal Credit is a working age benefit and does not replace Pension Credit. However, there are some changes being introduced by the government on the 15 May 2019 which could have an impact on pensioners who are part of a mixed age couple.
The change affects couples where one person is below and one is above retirement / Pension Credit age which is currently 65 years and 2 months but is gradually increasing to 67 years.
At the moment, if you are in a couple where one person is aged 60 (under Pension Credit age) and the other person is 70 (over Pension Credit age) then these mixed couples have a choice over what to claim. They can either claim Universal Credit or, the more generous, Pension Credit; as long as the member of the couple who has reached pensionable age makes the claim.
The advantage of making a claim as a mixed age couple could mean some couples are better off by anything up to £7,000 per year on Pension Credit and Housing Benefit as opposed to Universal Credit. This is because under Universal Credit there are no extra amounts awarded for pensioners.
If the couple can still claim Housing Benefit as opposed to Universal Credit, this could mean they do not get affected by the Benefit Cap or Bedroom Tax as pensioners are exempt from Bedroom Tax and the benefit cap under Housing Benefit.
Important things to remember
As long as the pensioner, in the couple, has made the claim by the 15 May 2019, they can remain on Pension Credit or Housing Benefit for as long as they are still entitled.
For more information about making a claim for Pension Credit you can go to www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim or phone the Pension Credit claim line on 0800 991234