Who are mixed aged couples?
A mixed age couple means a couple, one member of which has attained the qualifying age for state pension credit and the other has not.
Prior to 15 May 2019 mixed age couples could choose which means tested benefit to claim. This choice was removed and on 15 May 2019, and mixed age couples are no longer eligible to make a NEW claim for Housing Benefit. Instead they must apply for Universal Credit for help to pay their rent.
Housing Benefit claims with a mixed age couple as at 14 May 2019 are protected from the new rules and can continue to claim Housing Benefit. They can continue to claim Housing Benefit under ‘Pension Age’ rules while their entitlement to Housing Benefit and/or State Pension Credit (if applicable) is continuous from 14 May 2019 and the integrity of the couple is retained.
Protection ends when:
- a member of the protected couple leaves or passes away
- a new couple (mixed aged or otherwise) is formed on or after 15 May 2019. This includes those couples that were a mixed age couple as at 14 May 2019 but one leaves for a period and then returns
- there is a break in entitlement of Housing Benefit and State Pension Credit is not continuous from the 14 May 2019
Protection does not end when there is break in entitlement to Housing Benefit but State Pension Credit has been continuous from 14 May 2019.
If the Universal Credit customer was in supported accommodation they will receive Housing Benefit as they do now.
These changes do not apply to Council Tax Reduction schemes. Mixed age couples are still eligible for Council Tax Reductions under pension credit rules.