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Can a mixed age couple chose to stay on HB when one reaches State Retirement age?

JoW
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Financial inclusion manager - Wythenshawe Community Housing

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Scenario is couple who were on ESA with support component as she had LCWRA. He claimed Carers Allowance and they got full HB minus bedroom tax. She reaches Pension age and gets State Pension of around £144 pw. I am thinking the ESA stops (as she was the one with LCWRA) and he could now claim UC to top up his CA and her SP.  Bedroom Tax would still apply. However could they chose to remain on HB and just report her increased income? Bedroom Tax would still apply.

They don’t want to claim UC.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Afraid not.

See para.4 of HB Circular A9/19:

4. Couples who are under State Pension age and have an award of HB assessed under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/213), ‘working age HB’, will become a mixed age couple once one member reaches pension age. At this point rather than re-assessing the claim under the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/214) ‘pension age HB’, the couple should be advised that they need to claim Universal Credit (UC). The relevant provision is Article 6(2)(b) and (3)(a) of SI 2019/37. See Annex A for additional operation guidance.

It’s also one of the scenarios in Annex A (as well as the legacy benefit for older partner scenario).

JoW
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Thanks Paul. The circular seems to imply that the claim for UC and subsequent stop notice is what causes HB to stop. What if client just sent in a change of circs to HB advising of changed income from ESA to SRP?  Would that also cause HB to stop and they would be advised to claim UC? I presume so.

[ Edited: 15 Jan 2020 at 05:09 pm by JoW ]
HB Anorak
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It’s not necessarily the UC claim that terminates HB in these cases - many mixed age couples won’t qualify for UC with pension income taken into account and don’t bother claiming it.  But HB terminates anyway under Article 6(2) of the No 31 Order when a working age award migrates to the HB(SPC) Regs.  That happens when the older member of the couple reaches SPC age and is also the claimant for working age DWP benefit.  That DWP benefit will stop, then HB will become subject to the HB(SPC) Regs and promptly terminate without a UC claim.

JoW
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Thanks both. Interestingly HB hasn’t stopped yet but she only turned SP age on 6.1.20 so maybe a delay in processing.

chacha
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JoW - 17 January 2020 02:13 PM

Thanks both. Interestingly HB hasn’t stopped yet but she only turned SP age on 6.1.20 so maybe a delay in processing.

It may well be the LA is not aware HB should cease.