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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

working age hb couple reach pension age after 15.05.19

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Damo
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Our HB section are currently testing the software for this and it has also been mentioned on HBINFO that working age couples not in receipt of a pass-ported benefit will see their HB terminated via article 6 (b) of SI 37/2019 from the date the eldest attain SPA from the 15th May. This had totally passed us by and was not mentioned in A3/2019. if they want help with their housing costs they would have to claim UC, and then reclaim HB when their partner reaches SPA. Is this interpretation correct?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Damo - 30 April 2019 01:38 PM

Our HB section are currently testing the software for this and it has also been mentioned on HBINFO that working age couples not in receipt of a pass-ported benefit will see their HB terminated via article 6 (b) of SI 37/2019 from the date the eldest attain SPA from the 15th May. This had totally passed us by and was not mentioned in A3/2019. if they want help with their housing costs they would have to claim UC, and then reclaim HB when their partner reaches SPA. Is this interpretation correct?

If you’re not on HB on 14 May 2019, there’s no way for mixed-age couples to later on make a claim, unless they were receiving Pension Credit on 14 May.

As for your earlier point, yes it does look as if a couple who are both working age and claiming HB do lose entitlement at the point the older partner reaches SPA with the result that they need to make a UC claim instead ar that point.. There’s been some discussion on another thread as to whether Article 6(2)(b) actually acheives that ambition but it’s certainly what the DWP envisage as being the case.

The guidance issed has been curiously quiet about many of these kind of counterintuitive impacts. Wonder why ever that could be.

Jo_Smith
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Will there be a 2 weeks run on in these cases, when one partner reaches SPA?

HB Anorak
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First, whether “ageing into” mixed age status causes HB to terminate is very much open to debate.  DWP is expressing that view in email correspondence with individuals who raise the question, but Circular A3/2019 is silent on the matter. The commencement order refers to becoming a member of a mixed age couple, it seems somewhat strained to rely on that. It’s also possible that the interaction of HB supersession effective dates and the transition from working age to SPC age versions of the HB Regs would mean that HB terminates under Article 6 of the order, but that is a rather abstruse technicality. This needs urgent clarification.

Assuming HB does terminate in such cases then no, there is not a 2 week run on. The run on applies when HB terminates because the claimant has claimed UC. In these cases there won’t be any need to claim UC until after HB terminates; for some couples there won’t be any point in claiming UC at all because pension income will be too high.

Charles
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HB Anorak - 01 May 2019 08:44 AM

First, whether “ageing into” mixed age status causes HB to terminate is very much open to debate.  DWP is expressing that view in email correspondence with individuals who raise the question, but Circular A3/2019 is silent on the matter. The commencement order refers to becoming a member of a mixed age couple, it seems somewhat strained to rely on that. It’s also possible that the interaction of HB supersession effective dates and the transition from working age to SPC age versions of the HB Regs would mean that HB terminates under Article 6 of the order, but that is a rather abstruse technicality. This needs urgent clarification.

Assuming HB does terminate in such cases then no, there is not a 2 week run on. The run on applies when HB terminates because the claimant has claimed UC. In these cases there won’t be any need to claim UC until after HB terminates; for some couples there won’t be any point in claiming UC at all because pension income will be too high.

I agree with all this. The circular does say further guidance will be issued closer to the date of implementation, so perhaps we’ll still get some more clarification.

About the 2 week run-on, I would add that even if a claimant tried to be clever and claim UC a day or two before turning pension-age, it wouldn’t help. The run-on simply allows HB to continue after a UC claim, but it is still the same HB award as before. Any other provision terminating HB will still have effect.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Charles - 01 May 2019 10:10 AM

I agree with all this. The circular does say further guidance will be issued closer to the date of implementation, so perhaps we’ll still get some more clarification..

We’re 2 weeks from this policy being implemented, we produce factsheets, guides, online informatiion and advice to older people affected by these changes through 140+ local partners and our advice line yet we’re in the position of waiting for clarification about something the government say has been in the pipeline for more than seven years when challenged on the basis of the policy.

It’s farcical quite frankly Charles.

Charles
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 01 May 2019 10:25 AM

We’re 2 weeks from this policy being implemented, we produce factsheets, guides, online informatiion and advice to older people affected by these changes through 140+ local partners and our advice line yet we’re in the position of waiting for clarification about something the government say has been in the pipeline for more than seven years when challenged on the basis of the policy.

It’s farcical quite frankly Charles.

Couldn’t agree more.

HB Anorak
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Charles - 01 May 2019 10:10 AM

About the 2 week run-on, I would add that even if a claimant tried to be clever and claim UC a day or two before turning pension-age, it wouldn’t help. The run-on simply allows HB to continue after a UC claim, but it is still the same HB award as before. Any other provision terminating HB will still have effect.

This is an interesting point, I am busy today but I want to come back to this with further analysis. I had thought that the two week run on would sometimes extend what would otherwise have been the natural end of the HB award. For example there is certainly an expectation that a mover leaving the LA area will get the run on without establishing unavoidable continuing liability. But maybe a pre-Rod Stewart tax preemptive run on is different because the extended award quickly comes up against another provision expressly providing for its termination.

Charles
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Hmm, you’re certainly right about a case where the claimant moves to another LA. It is implicit in reg. 8A(b), and is also explicitly discussed in HB Circular A2/2018.
I’ll have to think this one through again.

seand
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Just coming back to this thread as I want to double check I’m reading this correctly.

Art 6(2)(b) of SI 37/2019 should end a ‘mixed-age’ couple’s HB when their HB award becomes subject to the HB (SPC) Regs. As far as I can see this won’t apply to all mixed aged couples. It will only affect those where the older partner is the HB claimant, because it is the age of the claimant that is important? Surely a claimant under SPC age will remain subject to the working age HB regs, even if their partner reaches SPC age? This is covered by Reg 5 of the HB (SPC) Regs

In addition, Reg 5(2) says that the HB (SPC) Regs don’t apply when the partner is on Income Support, irESA and ibJSA (plus UC, but that’s not relevant)

So, this also won’t affect any claimants with a partner claiming a passporting benefit?

Jon Blackwell
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seand - 09 May 2019 01:36 PM

Just coming back to this thread as I want to double check I’m reading this correctly.

Art 6(2)(b) of SI 37/2019 should end a ‘mixed-age’ couple’s HB when their HB award becomes subject to the HB (SPC) Regs. As far as I can see this won’t apply to all mixed aged couples. It will only affect those where the older partner is the HB claimant, because it is the age of the claimant that is important? Surely a claimant under SPC age will remain subject to the working age HB regs, even if their partner reaches SPC age? This is covered by Reg 5 of the HB (SPC) Regs

In addition, Reg 5(2) says that the HB (SPC) Regs don’t apply when the partner is on Income Support, irESA and ibJSA (plus UC, but that’s not relevant)

So, this also won’t affect any claimants with a partner claiming a passporting benefit?

That’s how I read it. They’ll continue to fall under the working age regs so it can’t be an award that gets terminated by Art 6(2).  Worryingly , I’ve heard a rumour that at least one major HB system will automatically terminate HB when the older member of the couple reaches pension age after 15 May in all cases - including where a working-age IRB remains in place.

 

Charles
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seand - 09 May 2019 01:36 PM

Art 6(2)(b) of SI 37/2019 should end a ‘mixed-age’ couple’s HB when their HB award becomes subject to the HB (SPC) Regs. As far as I can see this won’t apply to all mixed aged couples. It will only affect those where the older partner is the HB claimant, because it is the age of the claimant that is important? Surely a claimant under SPC age will remain subject to the working age HB regs, even if their partner reaches SPC age? This is covered by Reg 5 of the HB (SPC) Regs

Even if the younger member of the couple is the claimant, it would still come under the pension-age regs, and potentially end under Art 6(2).
I know the regs are not very clear, but see reg 5(3) of the working-age regs. (hat tip to Peter Barker)

HB Anorak
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Nothing is straightforward in these cases, it is not even a simple matter to establish which version of the HB Regs applies.  My personal view is that the working age HB Regs apply to:

- single working age claimants
- couples who are both working age
- mixed age couples where the younger partner is on working age DWP benefits, irrespective of who is the HB claimant.  That in particular is how I interpret Reg 5(3): it says these regs only apply to mixed age couples where para (1) expressly makes them do so, and it is only subpara (1)(b) that contains a specific reference to mixed age couples.  The old CTB Regs were clearer in this regard and I don’t think it was eve suggested that HB and CTB should be subject to different rules.

If I am right about that, the straightforward conclusion is that for Article 6(2)(b) to apply, status quo ante must be a mixed age couple with working age DWP benefits.  HB would terminate if the DWP benefit ends for any reason.  Such cases are certainly covered, but there is an argument that Article 6(2)(b) additionally applies when the older member of a working age couple reaches SPC age and the younger member is not still on DWP working age benefit.  Regular poster Charles has identified that Article 6(2)(b) might apply here because:

- a mixed age couple as defined in the No 31 Order exists as soon as the older member reaches SPC age - that is instantaneous
- but HB is still assessed under the working age Regs until the change of circumstance takes effect on the following Monday
- this means there is a part week in which you have a mixed age couple getting working age HB, before the HB SPC-age regs kick in from the next Monday and Article 6(2)(b) zaps the award.

That’s all there is.  A natural migration cohort consisting of probably hundreds of thousands of claimants, relying on the above analysis.  Bit shaky isn’t it.

PS - oh hi Charles!

seand
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Thanks Charles/Mr Anorak

I hadn’t looked to check how the working age regs set out when the SPC regs should apply, silly me!

I can follow your argument and it makes sense. Still no word from DWP on this yet though? worrying that some HB systems will just end all HB claims when the older partner hits SPC age. I know those decisions can be revised, but it’s most likely that people will be advice they have to claim UC and take that advice…

Charles
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HB Anorak - 09 May 2019 02:29 PM

...but there is an argument that Article 6(2)(b) additionally applies when the older member of a working age couple reaches SPC age and the younger member is not still on DWP working age benefit.  Regular poster Charles has identified that Article 6(2)(b) might apply here because:

- a mixed age couple as defined in the No 31 Order exists as soon as the older member reaches SPC age - that is instantaneous
- but HB is still assessed under the working age Regs until the change of circumstance takes effect on the following Monday
- this means there is a part week in which you have a mixed age couple getting working age HB, before the HB SPC-age regs kick in from the next Monday and Article 6(2)(b) zaps the award.

That’s all there is.  A natural migration cohort consisting of probably hundreds of thousands of claimants, relying on the above analysis.  Bit shaky isn’t it.

PS - oh hi Charles!

Hi!

I think, practically speaking, the reasoning DWP will rely on will be more prosaic. Something like understanding the words “to a person who is a member of a mixed-age couple” in Art 6(2)(b) as referring to a person who is now a member of a mixed-age couple, even if the award was made beforehand.

Jon Blackwell
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I think I must be missing an important part of the jigsaw here.

Using a concrete example…

The younger member of a couple is the claimant for ESA(IR). They are also claiming HB. The older partner was born on 6 Feb 1954 and so reaches pension-age On 6 Jul 2019. 

I think that, from that point, the ESA(IR) continues (now with a pensioner premium included.)

Because ESA(IR) continues they still have their HB awarded under the working-age HB regs and no entitlement begins under the pension-age HB regs. [HB Reg 5(1)(b) / HB(SPC) Reg 5(2)].

Article 6 can have no effect because the only HB awards terminated are “those where entitlement beings under the HB SPC regulations .... and...[(a), (b) or (c)] “.

No such entitlement begins so they don’t get “zapped”.

What am I missing?