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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

Becoming mixed age couple and losing HB

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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.

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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.

chacha
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Jen - 23 January 2020 08:51 PM

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.

Hi all, seems this is the most similar to a case I have for an appeal (HB ageing into MAC after 15 May 2019) so any help/ideas most welcome please.

Also, can I just ask how your case went Jen?

I have a couple that have been in receipt of HB prior to 15/05/19, under working age HB regs as they were not a MAC at the time and the only income was from self-employment, this was for the claimant. The claimant came of age in July 2019, so they became a MAC from that date, at this point HB continued in payment under working age. (Ok, this is the beginning of the problem).

In April 2020 a HBSTOP notification was received for the working age partner but this was subsequently superseded by a UC termination notification with the reason stating “claim withdrawn by your partner”, HB was initially terminated but was then re-instated based on the DWP’s refusal to award UC, or withdraw UC, whichever of the reasons (Still unclear of the either of the 2 decisions as all the evidence I have is the UCSTOP and UC withdrawal notification, no other explanations as to how the DWP reached decision at the time). The claimant also started receiving his state pension from April 2020.

HB continued, as a MAC couple, but with HB working age regs and the appropriate applicable amount for a couple even though claimant was now of pension age. (A continuation of the problem)

Fast forward to today, claim eventually picked up in February 2023 when pensions were looked at for the annual uprating, decision was made to terminate the claim back to 2019 (O/P not recoverable) and then appeal received. The reason for the appeal, and I quote, “I was told I am protected from the new rules, by the DWP and other advisory bodies due to transitional protection and because of this withdrew the UC claim”.

Should HB have been terminated, and if so when should it have? (Presumably under Article 6(2))

Was UC correctly refused/withdrawn (Don’t think it has any bearing really as the issue is with the HB award) and was the advice given correct? (Again, presumably under Article 6(2) because it doesn’t apply in this particular instance, as Charles alludes to above)

Thanks

Sorry, I should have said I have looked at amendments here https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/935/made,Article 8 being my focus but I still remain perplexed with the whole thing.

 

[ Edited: 10 Apr 2021 at 12:21 pm by chacha ]
Charles
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Could it be there was entitlement to SDP within the HB award?

Assuming there was NO entitlement to SDP, and that there was no other working-age benefit involved:

chacha - 10 April 2021 12:15 PM

Should HB have been terminated, and if so when should it have? (Presumably under Article 6(2))

The intention is certainly for HB to end at the point they become a MAC. Whether the legislation actually has this effect was the discussion earlier in the thread.

Was UC correctly refused/withdrawn (Don’t think it has any bearing really as the issue is with the HB award) and was the advice given correct? (Again, presumably under Article 6(2) because it doesn’t apply in this particular instance, as Charles alludes to above)

Whether or not the HB award had terminated, a claim for UC was possible. That being the case, even if the HB had not already been terminated, the making of a claim for UC will have terminated the HB. Withdrawing the UC claim (which can be done - see here) would not stop that happening.

Sorry, I should have said I have looked at amendments here https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/935/made,Article 8 being my focus but I still remain perplexed with the whole thing.

Article 8 does not apply here, as there was no reason a claim for UC could not be made.

chacha
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Hi Charles, thanks for that, I guess I will have to see if 6(2) is satisfied, with the termination of HB in this type of case.

My reference to Art 8 (1)(a)), was purely in hope, that reg 4 of the UCTP might make a difference but the DWP notification did say “claim withdrawn” so no way round it. Thanks again.