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Housing Costs for Mixed Aged Couple - one with No Recourse to Public Funds

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Advice on Prescription Team - Citizens Advice Liverpool

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I have a client who is 71 who recently married a claimant under pension age with American citizenship.  She previously received state pension and housing benefit.  No pension credit although might have been able to have previously made a claim.  The council have suspended the housing benefit claim.  Husband has applied for an NI number….

Under mixed age rules, my understanding is that there is no provision as a single claimant for housing benefit in the same way that you can under UC if your partner is ineligible.  Also, that rules now state that HB claim should end when you become a member of a mixed age couple.

You can usually make a UC claim if your partner has no recourse to public funds and receive payment as a single claimant with joint means-testing.  However, client is 71 as a single claimant so could not qualify…

It appears she is in a cleft stick and can claim neither benefit…

Sorry have just answered my own question - can receive HB/PC by virtue of

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No.31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2019, No.935. Official guidance in Housing Benefit Adjudication Circular A9/2019

Will tell the council!

[ Edited: 26 Jul 2021 at 12:12 pm by Darren ]
Elliot Kent
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As you note, a UC claim would be impossible and they are therefore excluded from the MAC provisions and she can claim SPC and HB. See para 15-17 of Circular A9/2019

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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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See the Housing Benefit A9/2019 Mixed age couples: further guidance (revised)

Special rules for certain mixed age couples
15. In certain circumstances, under UC rules the younger partner in a mixed age couple will be ineligible for UC where they are:

* under 18 (the normal minimum age for UC)
* does not satisfy the habitual residence test
* is a person subject to immigration control
* is a prisoner (including detention in hospital serving a sentence of imprisonment)
* is absent from Great Britain for more than the period allowed for a temporary absence (normally one month)

16. As the older partner is over pension age they cannot claim UC and would also be unable to make a claim for pension age HB because they would still be treated as a couple under HB regulations. However, amendments made by SI 2019/935 to Article 7(2) of SI 2019/37 will allow the older partner to be treated as a single person, when under normal pension age HB regulations they would still be treated as a part of a couple.

17. The older partner can claim pension age HB and Pension Credit as a single claimant until the reason they are unable to claim UC as a couple no longer applies.

Example 2: Younger partner not eligible for UC
The younger partner is not eligible to claim UC as part of a joint-claim couple because either:

they are under 18, and not exempt from the UC minimum age rule due to disability or being responsible for a child, or
they do not satisfy the habitual residence test
In this scenario the older partner will:

not be able to claim UC as a single person, and
be able to claim pension age HB as a single person until their partner reaches 18, or satisfies the habitual residence test

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I had a similar couple pre-pandemic. When I spoke to Cornwall Council HB department they said that there automated IT system wasn’t able to recognise NRPF and a manual adjustment needed to be made. I didn’t ask what their IT was. Maybe still iWorld.