From May, new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 can no longer claim the means-tested pension credit

Changes to Pension Credit

The Department of Work & Pensions announced earlier this week that from 15 May 2019 new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 can no longer claim the means-tested top-up called pension credit. 

As a result of the change in DWP rules, many pensioners who have partners of working age could lose a substantial amount in pension top-ups. This is as a result of imminent rule changes that will require them to claim universal credit, rather than the pension credit currently being paid to couples.  The rate of universal credit payable to a couple under the new regime would be £114.81 a week, compared with the £255.24 currently being paid to couples receiving pension credit.

This change to pension credit has officially been in place since the Welfare Reform Act 2012, but government ministers delayed the introduction until universal credit had bedded in, which has now been completed.

At the moment, people who reach retirement age and are eligible can claim pension credit regardless of the age of their partner. In future they will have to wait until their partner also reaches 65 (although the state retirement age will be increased to 66 in October 2020).

Couples with one partner under state pension age, who are already in receipt of pension credit, will be unaffected.

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