40,000 couples could be affected by Pension Credit changes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has estimated that the number of couples that will be affected by upcoming Pension Credit changes could reach 40,000 by 2021/22.

In January 2019, the DWP announced changes that will see couples make the transition from working age benefits to pension age benefits when the younger partner reaches state pension age, which will take effect on 15 May 2019.

Previously, the transition would take place once only one partner had reached state pension age and applied for Pension Credit in their name.

Responding to a written question, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said that the DWP expected 15,000 mixed age couples to be affected in 2019/20, increasing to 30,000 in 2020/21.

It also predicted that the overall annual managed expenditure (AME) savings could total £45m in 2019/20, rising to £130m in 2020/21, before hitting £220m in 2021/22.

Commenting on the AME savings, Opperman stated: “The estimates relate to couples who are not in receipt of either Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit at the point the changes are introduced.

“They include no estimate of behavioural effects, for example from job retention or increased saving for retirement.”

When the DWP initially announced the changes, Royal London estimated that those affected could lose out on £7,000 per year in benefits.

Opperman clarified: “The change will not affect mixed age couples who are entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before the implementation date unless their entitlement to both those benefits subsequently ends.”

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