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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

Becoming mixed age couple and losing HB

Jen
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Sorry to be posting a potential duplicate here as I know this has come up a few times before, but I just want to clarify really and see if I am understanding this right (as it seems so wrong!)

‘Mixed age’ couple who were getting IIDB as only income (older partner’s) plus HB/CTS. Living off this and savings (now below 6k). Came to see me when received notification from HB that, when he reaches SP age in March, their HB award terminates.

So…as I (maybe) understand it at the moment, the HB award is a working age one. It can’t ‘convert’ to a spc age one. The only way they can continue to get HB is as a working age claim paid as a passported claim from an income-based working age benefit (which in this case they don’t have). Is that correct!? I initially read the guidance completely backwards I think and have tied myself in knots a bit.

This couple are adamant that they won’t claim UC as they don’t want the younger partner to have to be a job seeker.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Para.4 (and 5 on HB carrying on if younger partner getting legacy benefit) of HB Circular A/9 confirm HB award ending in this type of situation.

Existing HB claimants: under pension age on 15 May 2019

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.

5. Where the younger partner is in receipt of Income Support (IS), Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based) (JSA(IB)), Employment and Support Allowance (income-related) (ESA(IR)), the couple will not be required to claim UC and can continue to receive working age HB if they have an existing claim until there is a relevant change in their circumstances which ends entitlement to those benefits. They will have to claim UC if they need further help with their housing costs.

They might be adamant that they’er not going to claim UC but they aren’t going to be getting any HB so they will need to think about how to pay their rent somehow.

Jen
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Thanks, that’s what I thought but as it seems such a big thing thought had better get some confirmation. Will go back to them with the bad news….and see if they can be convinced to claim UC!

Rebecca Lough
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If there’s health issues, could you do AA and then resolve the conditionality issue through carer element etc? Then by getting AA, he’ll get LCWRA too which should leave them significantly better off.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Rebecca Lough - 24 January 2020 12:59 PM

If there’s health issues, could you do AA and then resolve the conditionality issue through carer element etc? Then by getting AA, he’ll get LCWRA too which should leave them significantly better off.

That’s a very good idea, thanks Rebecca.

Charles
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If they really aren’t going to claim UC, I would consider appealing the decision to terminate the HB on the grounds that the legislation does not do what DWP say it does.

I think there is a strong argument to say that the legislation does not terminate HB awards when a couple age into mixed-age status.

Jen
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Rebecca Lough - 24 January 2020 12:59 PM

If there’s health issues, could you do AA and then resolve the conditionality issue through carer element etc? Then by getting AA, he’ll get LCWRA too which should leave them significantly better off.

Thanks Rebecca, had thought about this but it seems his IIDB was for something that would make PIP/AA unlikely. He states no other health problems or disability but may be worth exploring further so will do so when next see them.

 

Jen
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Charles - 24 January 2020 02:48 PM

If they really aren’t going to claim UC, I would consider appealing the decision to terminate the HB on the grounds that the legislation does not do what DWP say it does.

I think there is a strong argument to say that the legislation does not terminate HB awards when a couple age into mixed-age status.

Hi Charles. I spoke to this couple again at the end of last week and they are still adamant that they won’t claim UC. So looking to explore a challenge to the decision that HB has to end when age into mixed age status. Will likely have to get our core service to do this but wondered if you were aware of ant other challenges to this as yet? Thanks again for your help by the way.

 

Charles
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No, I’m not aware of any challenges to this.

The argument is basically that the legislation DWP rely upon to terminate HB in these circumstances is here. The relevant section reads:

(2) ... where entitlement under the Housing Benefit SPC Regulations as part of a mixed-age couple begins on or after the appointed day and where the awards are made-
...
(b) at any time, under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, to a person who is a member of a mixed-age couple, where the award subsequently ceases to be subject to those Regulations and becomes subject to the Housing Benefit SPC Regulations;

I understand that to mean that the award had to originally have been made to a mixed-age couple, which wasn’t the case here.

In fact, when this Order was made, I thought if anything DWP were relying on a different subparagraph for these cases (Art 6(2)(a)), but it appears not.

Jen
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Charles - 03 February 2020 01:40 PM

No, I’m not aware of any challenges to this.

The argument is basically that the legislation DWP rely upon to terminate HB in these circumstances is here. The relevant section reads:

(2) ... where entitlement under the Housing Benefit SPC Regulations as part of a mixed-age couple begins on or after the appointed day and where the awards are made-
...
(b) at any time, under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, to a person who is a member of a mixed-age couple, where the award subsequently ceases to be subject to those Regulations and becomes subject to the Housing Benefit SPC Regulations;

I understand that to mean that the award had to originally have been made to a mixed-age couple, which wasn’t the case here.

In fact, when this Order was made, I thought if anything DWP were relying on a different subparagraph for these cases (Art 6(2)(a)), but it appears not.

Thank you :-)

WR Adviser
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Hello, sorry to jump on this thread, but I was wondering if there was any update?  Was a challenge made to the decision to stop the HB?  I was wondering about how things stood with a newly formed MAC, with the younger member being on CBESA and occ pensions and working age HB, older member has state pension.  Thanks!

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WR Adviser - 27 August 2020 02:43 PM

Hello, sorry to jump on this thread, but I was wondering if there was any update?  Was a challenge made to the decision to stop the HB?  I was wondering about how things stood with a newly formed MAC, with the younger member being on CBESA and occ pensions and working age HB, older member has state pension.  Thanks!

Not sure whether it makes any difference but is this a newly formed couple or an existing couple where the older partner has just reached pension age?

[ Edited: 27 Aug 2020 at 05:10 pm by Ianb ]
Charles
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Ianb - 27 August 2020 05:07 PM
WR Adviser - 27 August 2020 02:43 PM

Hello, sorry to jump on this thread, but I was wondering if there was any update?  Was a challenge made to the decision to stop the HB?  I was wondering about how things stood with a newly formed MAC, with the younger member being on CBESA and occ pensions and working age HB, older member has state pension.  Thanks!

Not sure whether it makes any difference but is this a newly formed couple or an existing couple where the older partner has just reached pension age?

Sounds like this is a new couple, in which case the regs are quite clear that the HB will terminate. The possible challenge I was referring to above would only be for those couples “ageing” into mixed-couple status.