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Changes to benefits for mixed aged couples

18 March 2023

#ValleysMag | #YBaeMag | Money Advice |

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Are you in a couple and you or your partner are about to reach state pension age?

The state pension age is currently 66 for both men and women.

On 15 May 2019, the law changed so that a ‘mixed age couple’ (a couple where one partner is a pensioner, and the other is under pension age) are considered to be a ‘working age’ couple when checking entitlement to means-tested benefits.

This means they cannot claim Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit until they are both pension age. Before this change, a mixed age couple could be eligible to claim the more generous pension age benefits when just one of them reached pension age.

Here is an example:

Sarah is 65 and her partner Dan is 63. Sarah claims a sickness benefit (Income related ESA) and Dan is on her claim (joint claim). They also claim Housing Benefit.

Sarah’s 66th Birthday is approaching (reaching pension age). Her claim for ESA and Housing Benefit will come to an end once she reaches state pension age. The couple will have to claim Universal Credit, because Dan is 63 and under state pension age.

If you’re the person reaching state pension age and claim Income-related ESA like Sarah in the example, it’s important that you don’t wait for your ESA to end before claiming Universal Credit.

Why? If you are in the support group for ESA (LCWRA on UC) this won’t be transferred over to Universal Credit if there is a gap.

Our advice is, apply for Universal Credit prior to turning pension age to get the LCWRA element. If there is a break in claim the LCWRA element will not be added.

If you are in a couple and you or your partner is about to reach state pension age and in receipt of ESA support group, please contact the Money Advice team to ensure you don’t miss out:


This story is from our Spring 2023 issue of valleys. and y bae. magazine, click the links to read the latest issue.