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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

Mixed age couple entitlement to PC and HB

MPether
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Southwark Law Centre

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I have an enquiry about a mixed age couple who were in receipt of UC. They made a claim for PC on 10th May 2019, with the qualifying person being the claimant. His wife is not yet of retirement age and still works part time. He also made a later claim for housing benefit with the help of the Sustain Team at our local council. PC eventually reached a decision dated 11th September confirming the date of claim as 10th May and paying PC from 15th May as PC is always paid in arrears. Housing benefit was initially refused but I kept them informed of PC claim and when the decision was received expected them to pay back to date of claim for PC. Meanwhile the clients had withdrawn their UC claim.
Now housing benefit are saying they cannot award housing benefit because “we require you to be in receipt of pension credit prior to 15/05/19; this is regardless of the claim date”.
I understood that I could rely on the interpretation of entitled to in the Commencement order 31:

(4) (a) In this Order
(a)a person is entitled to state pension credit or housing benefit on any day where the person has made a claim for that benefit and the conditions of entitlement are met in relation to that person, regardless of whether, respectively, entitlement begins on a later day under—
(i)regulation 16A (date of entitlement under an award of state pension credit for the purpose of payability and effective date of change of rate) of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987; or
(ii)regulation 57 (date on which entitlement is to commence) of the Housing Benefit SPC Regulations;

I am finding it very difficult to get my head around all the amendments in the Commencement orders relating to this and if my interpretation is incorrect should I be seeking backdating of PC and then HB?
Any advice welcome.

[ Edited: 8 Oct 2019 at 10:17 am by Daphne ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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I think you’re correct and the LA are wrong basically Maggie, especially if the Pension Service have confirmed the date of claim as being 10.05.19. The section of the CO that you quote couldn’t really be clearer in my opinion.

Get a decision off them and appeal.

MPether
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Thank you Paul for your fast reply. I will do as you say now I am sure I have not missed anything

HB Anorak
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Entitlement to UC is likely to be a problem here. Did it continue beyond 15 May? Cannot be entitled to either HB or SPC while also entitled to UC. If UC spills over into post 15 May period it breaks the transitional protection for HB and SPC

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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I read it as UC award ending before PC award began but if you’re correct here Peter, then surely the PC award shouldn’t continue either for the same reasons (or indeed, couldn’t have been awarded in the first place?)

MPether
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I advised client to withdraw UC claim but he did not do so until June and his claim was closed from 10/06/19, as he was worried about delay in switching benefit and incurring increased rent arrears.  Is this then fatal to his entitlement to PC & HB as a mixed age couple?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Regulation 5(1)(d) of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 is pretty clear on this.

Exclusion of entitlement to certain benefits
5.—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a claimant is not entitled to—

(d)state pension credit under the State Pension Credit Act 2002.
in respect of any period when the claimant is entitled to universal credit

And I can’t see any of the exclusions in para.(2) applying to your clients.

Similarly, the savings provisions in Article 4 of CO cease to apply if - ...in relation to the member of the mixed-age couple referred to on any day after the appointed day when that person is not entitled to either state pension credit or housing benefit as part of the same mixed-age couple.

Really don’t know what to suggest tbh. I don’t think the council are correct in their reasons why they can’t accept a new HB claim but I also don’t think you’re clients can be said to be entitled to PC from 10.05.19, even if that’s the date of given by the Pension Service.

This is what I touched on in the CPAG workshop, in respect of people over SPA moving from UC to PC when their claim is made after they have reached SPA - Pension Service are accepting PC claims and then putting them into payment, even though a UC award is ongoing. I’d not considered the potential for people to be caught out in the way that these potentially have.