Changes to the way a crucial state pension benefit is paid could see couples losing £7,000 a year since a new act of parliament was introduced in on 15 May. Previously, couples of mixed ages were able to claim pension age benefits, such as pension credit, as soon as the eldest partner reaches state pension age. Since the changes, however, couples are only able to claim pension age benefits once the youngest partner reaches state pension age. The change is predicted to hit the UK’s poorest pensioners who have a partner that is of working age.
Pension experts warn that the change could leave some couples more than £7,000 worse off a year. These changes to benefits may create a real cliff edge between those under the old and new rules. If you are fortunate enough to come under the previous rules, then you will be treated as a pensioner couple even if one of you is under pension age.
But after May, you will be treated as a working age couple even if one of you is retired and drawing a state pension. The difference could run into many thousands of pounds. This issue highlights the gulf in the generosity of the system between pensioners and people of working age. We have now reached a situation where a single pensioner on pension credit gets more to live on than a working age couple on Universal Credit.