Pensioners in Derbyshire who have partners of working age are being urged to contact the county’s welfare rights service after recent rule changes to their benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions announced recently that from May 15,
2019, pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 and make a new claim no longer qualify for a means-tested top-up benefit called pension credit.
Instead, they’ll need to claim universal credit alongside their younger partners – which could mean that some couples will be losing more than £7,000 a year.
At the moment, couples who receive pension credit get around £255.25 a week – under the new rules, this would drop down to around £114.81 a week.
Derbyshire County Council’s Welfare Rights Service is urging people who think they might be affected to get in touch for support and advice.
Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for adult care, Councillor Jean Wharmby, said: “There’s a lot of information going around at the moment that might be confusing people who receive pension credits.
“That’s why we’re encouraging anyone who thinks they might be affected to go to our website or get in touch with the team – they’re a helpful, friendly bunch who can guide you through any complex issues.
“Contact the Welfare Benefits helpline well before 15 May 2019 to give yourself plenty of time for a chat.”
Mixed-aged couples with one partner under state pension age who are already in receipt of pension credit will be unaffected – unless circumstances, such as their address, change.
If a mixed-aged couple already claim universal credit, the person who claims a pension will not be required to look for work as a condition, unlike claimants who are of a working age.
The Government announced the pension credit change in 2012, but ministers put off introducing it until universal credit was fully rolled out last month.
Contact the welfare rights team on 01629 531535 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 11am and 4pm.