Over 65 and have a partner? Check your benefit entitlement now

Starting from May 2019, changes to benefits for people aged over 65 may mean that they and their partners may miss out on £7,000 in benefit claims each year.

According to research conducted by Age UK, 1.6 million pensioners are currently living on or below the poverty line*. 900,000 of this number are classed as being in ‘severe poverty’, and many aren’t claiming the total benefits that they’re entitled to.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of elderly people in the UK are struggling to afford basic essentials, including fresh food, warm clothes, and winter heating.

How are benefits changing for people over 65 and their partners?

Currently, if a person is aged 65 or over, they’re considered to be of ‘pension age’. If their partner is aged under 65, this is known as a ‘mixed age couple’.

At present, mixed age couples can claim Pension Credit. This is a benefit for older people and couples who need to top up their income.

From 15 May, mixed age couples will need to claim Universal Credit instead and only couples who are BOTH over pension age will be able to claim Pension Credit.

What’s more, over a million people who are entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it. Around 50,000 of these people are estimated to be in mixed age couples.

What’s Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a relatively new benefit for working age people that replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits. It’s also designed to support people who have a low (or no) income with their basic living expenses and housing costs.

Universal Credit has been in the news a lot recently, as many claimants are forced to wait five weeks for their first payment. Some say that this has resulted in increased pressure on food banks and other sources of government and charity-based support.

If you don’t currently claim Pension Credit, and you’re part of a mixed age couple, it’s recommended that you try claiming now

Pension Credit pays up to £255.25 a week. In contrast, the maximum amount of money that a person can claim through Universal Credit is £114.85 a week. This amounts to £140 per week less than they could get through Pension Credit.

I think I’m affected by this benefits change – what should I do?

Entitledto is the UK’s leading provider of benefit entitlement calculators. They’re urging all mixed age couples to check their benefit entitlement before 15 May.

If you’re entitled to Pension Credit and claim it before this date, you won’t be affected. However, if you try to claim Pension Credit after the deadline you may be too late and you might have to claim Universal Credit instead. This could set you and your partner back by £140 per week.

How can I check what I’m entitled to?

You can find out what benefits you may be entitled to by using our online benefits calculator.

*SOURCE: 2016 Age UK End Pensioner Poverty campaign

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