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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Income support, JSA and tax credits  →  Thread

Joint-claim JSA become mixed age couple

Rebecca Johnson
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Welfare rights officer, Sandwell Council

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I have a query re HB for mixed-age couple :

- They were a JSA joint-claim couple
- Mr turned pension age 6/11/2019. ‘They’ were notified by DWP (addressed to both, Mr’s name first) that JSA would continue beyond this date with pensioner premium
- ibJSA continued to be paid, letters addressed to Mrs (she is 50), with pensioner premium minus his state pension.

Problems arose as HB stopped and rent wasn’t paid:
- HB stopped when Mr turned pension age
- They made new claim for HB after it stopped - no decision, but eventually they found out not awarded
- Eventually around Feb 2020 they claimed UC for help with the rent. Rent arrears occurred as result.

Just for my interest: is there a lead claimant in a joint-claim JSA?

Main issue: should the HB have stopped?

Thanks.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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No the HB award should not have stopped.

See A9/2019 Mixed age couples: further guidance (revised) and para.5 which really couldn’t be clearer. It’s so frustrating that LA’s are continuing to get this wrong. The fact of the older partner reaching SPA is not a relevant change of circumstances.

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.

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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Rebecca Johnson - 15 February 2021 02:04 PM

Just for my interest: is there a lead claimant in a joint-claim JSA?

There is only one claimant but if they are part of a couple the entitlement is based on joint circumstances. In your case it appears the claimant was the younger member of the couple which is why JSA was able to continue and why HB should not have been stopped.

EDIt - Charles has put me straight in the following post. Highlights how rarely I have come across JSA claimants and I thought I knew but clearly didn’t!

[ Edited: 15 Feb 2021 at 07:53 pm by Ianb ]
Charles
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Joint-claim JSA is the one exception where both are claimants.

There is no lead claimant for a joint-claim. My understanding is that the JSA award in such circumstances continues for the younger member of the couple without a new claim needed. So, as Paul says, the HB should not have ended.

Ianb
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Charles - 15 February 2021 05:44 PM

Joint-claim JSA is the one exception where both are claimants.

There is no lead claimant for a joint-claim. My understanding is that the JSA award in such circumstances continues for the younger member of the couple without a new claim needed. So, as Paul says, the HB should not have ended.

Thanks, Charles. Exposed my ignorance there. I take it that that means that both claimants on a joint JSA claim benefit from NI credits.

Charles
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Ianb - 15 February 2021 08:09 PM

I take it that that means that both claimants on a joint JSA claim benefit from NI credits.

I’m not actually sure about this.

I should note that I have no practical experience with this, so this is all completely theoretical:

Credits for unemployment are only applied automatically to someone “paid a jobseeker’s allowance”. (reg. 8A(2)(a) of the SS (Credits) Regs)

Joint-claim couples nominate “to whom the allowance is to be payable”. (s. 3B(1) of the Jobseekers Act 1995)

To me that sounds like only one of a joint-claim couple automatically get credits.

Of course, in many cases the other member of the couple will also be entitled due to Reg 8A(2)(b) of the Credits Regs.

Where it gets interesting is where one of the couple is exempt from jobseeking, but is still part of the joint-claim (reg 3D of the JSA Regs 1996, and sched. A1 to those Regs). If the non-jobseeking member was the nominated member of the couple, they should both be able to get credits, but otherwise only the jobseeking member would get them.

Ianb
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Thank you, Charles.