HB for mixed age couple
The client, a pensioner from Poland who has lived and worked in UK for 30 yrs, was in receipt of PC and HB at his council flat. He married on one of his trips back to Poland and his new 62 year old wife joined him in the UK in April 2018. He did not apply for PC as a couple and he didn’t tell the council about his change of circumstances. She made - and continues to make - frequent trips back to Poland to visit family members and deal with an ongoing court dispute about inheritance. She receives a small Polish pension.
The client was moved into new council accommodation in August 2019 (disrepair at old flat) and declared in his change of circumstances HB form that he had a wife. The tenancy is a JOINT one. However as they are a mixed age couple, they had to claim UC. She was turned down as she failed the HRT due to her frequent trips back to Poland and stays there of longer than 4 weeks at a time. Rather than awarding UC to the client as a person whose partner is not eligible, the DWP has reinstated our client’s PC as single person, backdated to August 2019 when it stopped after he put in his UC claim. We have told our client he will have to declare his wife’s Polish pension but in the meantime the council is refusing to reinstate HB as they say the claim was closed and cannot be reopened as they remain a mixed age couple. The fact that the client is back in receipt of PC has not changed the council position.
The Polish wife continues to make trips back to Poland and is unlikely to pass the HRT and qualify for UC for some months.
The council has said it will look again at the decision if it can be shown that HB in this situation must be paid. Any thoughts?
Many thanks. That’s exactly the guidance needed to present to the council.