Age Scotland warning to pensioners

Friday May 3rd 2019

Pensioners

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame has backed Age Scotland’s call for all pensioners living on a low income with a younger partner of working age to urgently check their eligibility for Pension Credit and Housing Benefit and put in a claim before the UK Government changes the rules on 15th May.

The UK Government’s change will see the right to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit withdrawn from future claimants who have a partner who hasn’t yet reached their own pensionable age, which could mean £7,000 per year less for some couples.

Although in theory this change will not impact on existing claimants Age Scotland is warning that if a mixed-age couple temporarily stops claiming the benefits because of a change in their personal or financial circumstances, from May they will be unable to regain it and will be moved onto the Universal Credit regime.

Ms Grahame is urging anyone who may be entitled to claim benefits to call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for a free benefit and entitlements check before the new eligibility criteria comes into force on 15th May.

Commenting, Ms Grahame said:

“The impact of this Tory cut – which was conveniently sneaked out the back door on the evening of an important Brexit vote – is truly shocking. This cut is going to hit low income pensioners the hardest simply because they have a younger partner.

“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible for any of these benefits to phone the Age Scotland helpline to ensure they get any claim in before 15th May.

“Ultimately, however, the UK Government must urgently reverse this attack on low-income pensioners to ensure future couples don’t fall foul of these absurd new rules.”

Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said:

“These changes will have a devastating impact on the lives of some of the poorest pensioners in Scotland. Around one in six pensioners living in Scotland are in poverty and this retrograde move will do nothing to improve this.

“Beyond the Pension Credit support, these mixed age couples could also miss out on a range of ‘passported benefits’ such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, cold weather payments, support for dental and eyecare costs, perhaps even the warm home discount.

“All in, this could mean that the loss of financial support for those on the lowest income could be well over £7,000 a year. That is wholly unacceptable and the UK Government must change course.

“It is vital that older people ensure that they claim everything they are entitled to.”

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