Mixed age couples: changes to benefit entitlement affecting people in horticulture

Since 15th May 2019 most mixed age couples have not been able to make a new claim for Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit with many having to claim Universal Credit instead. A ‘mixed age couple’ consists of one person who is above and the other below the ‘qualifying age’ for Pension Credit i.e. one member of the couple is of pension credit age, whilst their partner is of working age.

This change is estimated to save the government £395 million in the first 3 years – but will ‘cost’ some mixed age couples at least £7,300 a year. Nearly all mixed age couples are significantly better off on Pension Credit and Housing Benefit when compared to Universal Credit.

The new rules are complex and whilst many mixed age couples will still have options, they may experience significant loss of income if they choose incorrectly. It may still be possible to get a Pension Credit or Housing Benefit claim backdated if you apply before the 14thAugust 2019. However, backdated claims can only be awarded by a maximum of 3 months so time is running out for those affected.

Helen Waddington, Head of Casework at Perennial, says:

“If you’re not already receiving Pension Credit or Housing Benefit, seek advice as soon as possible. We have already contacted anyone we are currently working with to ensure they don’t miss out, but we’re here to help anyone who works in, or has worked in horticulture with this and would urge anyone who thinks they might be affected to give us a call.”

If you think you, or someone you know in horticulture, may be affected by this change to benefit entitlement, then please get in touch with us by calling our Helpline on 0800 093 8543. For those not in horticulture, visit the government website or seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.