BENEFITS EXPERT: Pensioner will pay the price if 63-year-old partner moves in
Q. I am 67 and receive my State Pension with a top up of Guaranteed Pension Credit as well as PIP for care.
I rent my property and currently receive full council tax reduction and housing benefit. My partner is considering moving in with me but she is 63 and currently gets ESA as well as PIP. I have been told that if she were to move in with me all my benefits would end and I may have to claim Universal Credit, is this correct or am I ok because I currently get Pension Credit?
A. You would need to report to the DWP if you commence cohabitation and this will lead to a revision of your current benefits.
As you are a mixed aged couple for benefit purposes (i.e. one person is of pension age and the other is below pension age) then you will end up having to end your current Pension Credit Claim and you will also have your housing benefit claim terminated.
Your PIP will remain in payment as well your partner’s PIP. You would then have to submit a joint claim for Universal Credit for help towards living and your rental costs.
The calculation for your living costs on Universal Credit differs from that of Pension Credit so it is likely that you will be worse off financially if you claim as a couple on Universal Credit.
You did not state if your partner is receiving Income Based or Contribution Based ESA and this will have a bearing on the calculation of Universal Credit.
In this situation I would advise you seek advice and have a benefit check carried out to see what the position would be if you did decide to cohabit.
You should both also bear in mind other help you may currently get that may be lost if you do live together, for example free dental care, eye tests, etc.
In relation to council tax liability you would lose the 25% single person discount and your current entitlement to Council Tax Reduction would need to be recalculated.
This may be less than you currently get as a single person pensioner. The final issue is that both you and your partner may be getting as single claimants a Severe Disability Premium, you may qualify for transitional protection whereby if you move to Universal Credit the premium will continue but at the couple’s rate.