From the 15 May 2019, benefit regulations are changing. If you are of pensionable age and you aren’t already claiming Pension Credit, you should check your eligibility and start your claim before 15 May to make sure you can still claim this credit.
Why should I make a Pension Credit claim now?
Currently, mixed aged couples, where one is above and the other is below the minimum qualifying age of state pension (currently 66 years), can choose to claim a working age benefit (for new claims, now Universal Credit) or pension age benefits (Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit) when they make a new claim. However, from 15 May claimants will no longer be able to apply for Pension Credit if their partner is of working age when they make a new claim.
Therefore, if you are a mixed aged couple and you haven’t already applied for Pension Credit we recommend you start the process by 14 May at the very latest. If you apply on or after 15 May and you are a mixed age couple, any benefit assessments will take into account the younger persons age when claims are being assessed, meaning you will need to claim Universal Credit until your partner reaches state pension age.
What happens if there is a change in my personal circumstances?
The only time your Pension Credit might be affected is if there is a change in your personal circumstances, such as you and your partner splitting up or if you move to a new local authority.
Once you have reported your change in circumstances, your pension and benefits will be reassessed. If you haven’t previously applied for Pension Credit, i.e. before the May 15 2019 deadline, you will need to apply for and claim Universal Credit (UC) until your partner reaches state pension age.
If you are already claiming Pension Credit this should still continue (dependent on the change in circumstances). You can find out more about what is regarded as a change in circumstances and how you should report it at GOV.UK
This is why it is important for you to check whether you are eligible and start your Pension Credit claim process before May 15 2019.
How do I check if I am eligible?
You can check your eligibility for Pension Credit by contacting the Department of Work and Pensions on their Freephone Pension Credit enquiries number 0800 99 1234.
Once you have verified your eligibility you can then make a claim on the same Freephone number. You will need to provide information about your joint income, savings, your date of birth and national insurance number.
For more advice on Pension Credit, you can contact Age UK’s Freephone advice line on 0800 678 1602 between 8am and 7pm, 365 days a year.