Universal Credit, Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit may be impacted if there is an age gap between each partner in a couple. Mixed-age couples could see their benefit entitlements impacted. Express.co.uk has compiled an explainer to detail how this may or may not impact you.
What is a mixed-age couple?
A mixed-age couple is essentially a situation where a couple is made up of one partner who is a pensioner and the other is under pension age.
It does not matter if you are married or not.
Anyone in this position or considering entering into this dynamic is advised to seek professional advice as it may impact a number of your benefit payments and entitlements.
What is the current State Pension age?
The current State Pension age is 66, which means you must be 66 before you can begin claiming your State Pension.
The State Pension age is then scheduled to rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
The age at which you are eligible for the State Pension is expected to increase again to 68 between 2037 and 2039, although this timeline has not yet been confirmed.
You can find out your State Pension age here.
If you were in a couple not in receipt of Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit you may be impacted differently.
With Pension Credit, it is now too late for a mixed-age couple to make a new Pension Credit claim and any new benefit claim will have to be for Universal Credit (UC) instead.
The exception to this is if you are prevented from claiming UC because you were recently receiving a Severe Disability Premium, in these cases, you will need to make a new claim as a couple for a legacy working-age benefit such as income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
For Housing Benefit claimants, it is now too late for mixed age couples to make a new claim and any new claim must be for Universal Credit instead.
The exception to this is if you are prevented from claiming UC because you were recently receiving a Severe Disability Premium, in this case, you will need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit under the working-age rules – the pensioner will be treated as if they meet the upper age limit.
If you are a mixed-age couple and you or your partner are claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, you will need to make a claim for working-age Council Tax Reduction/Support to help with Council Tax.
These schemes may vary depending upon where you live.