Pension benefit changes - backdated claims available until 13 August 2019
Published on 03 June 2019 09:37 AM
It’s not too late for mixed age couples to claim Pension Credit, following changes to pension benefit rules on 15 May 2019. The changes mean an older person reaching State Pension Age (SPA) with a partner of working age will no longer be able to make a new claim for pension credit and housing benefit. However, eligible couples before the May cut-off date can still make a backdated claim up to 13 August 2019.
Age Cymru is therefore calling on all pensioners in Wales on a low income, who have a partner of working age, to urgently check their eligibility for pension credit and housing benefit before the August deadline.
Figures released by our sister charity Age UK suggest that almost a third of mixed-age couples who claim benefits could lose out on as much as £35,000. (i) Previous estimates have placed the annual loss of the changes at up to around £7,000 per year. The charity’s research shows that almost one in three couples have an age gap of five or more years, resulting in loses of up to £35,000.
More than one in 12 couples with an age gap of 10 years or more could lose up to £70,000 if the younger partner is unable to undertake paid work in the time before they reach SPA, for example due to ill health or caring responsibilities.
Age Cymru’s Campaigns and Policy Manager, Dr Valerie Billingham says: “We are urging older people to take full advantage of the back dated claim option. Of course, we would much prefer it if the Westminster Government reversed their decision to implement such mean-spirited changes as it could have a devastating impact on some of our poorest and vulnerable pensioners.
"Not everyone is able to carry on working until their State Pension age, particularly those in our most deprived communities where they are more likely to suffer with ill health.”
Age Cymru is urging anyone who may be entitled to claim benefits to check their entitlement. It’s possible to check your pension credit and housing benefit entitlement by calling the free phone number of the Pension Credit Helpline 0800 991 234, the Age Cymru Advice line on 08000 223 444, or by using the charity’s online benefits calculator www.agecymru.org.uk/benefitscalculator
Behind the Headlines: the age gap tax, Age UK, May 2019, download: Behind the headlines: the age gap tax