Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Claims: Mixed age couples - Worse off / Better off

Whilst they have a choice, which should a mixed age couple claim - Pension Credit/Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

Generally, a 'mixed age' couple will be better off on the legacy benefit system ie claiming Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.

This is because:

  • When working out how much a mixed age couple needs to live on - it is over £100 per week less under Universal Credit.

  • The younger member may be subject to work search conditions under Universal Credit.

  • Unlike the legacy benefit rules - which work from the older member's age, these 'mixed age' couples on Universal Credit will be subject to the Universal Credit rules - therefore subject to:
    • the social housing Bedroom Tax,
    • the Benefit Cap,
    • less generous temporary absence rules,
    • less generous savings rules,
    • less generous eligible service charge rules
      (note: this is not an exhaustive list).
    • if they are responsible for children, they can have extra amounts in their Pension Credit and there is no Two Child Limit rule.

  • On Pension Credit and / or HB, they may be entitled to premiums they are not entitled to under UC eg the severe disability premium.

  • They may lose support linked to Pension Credit such as cheaper utilities, maximum Council Tax Support (for people on Guarantee Pension Credit) etc.

However, some 'mixed age' couples may be better off on Universal Credit eg if they have working non-dependants, so 'better off' calculations need to be done.

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