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Deadline Midnight Tuesday 13th August For Mixed Age Pensioners

11th August 2019


Age Scotland's Helpline has been inundated with hundreds of calls as older people put in last-minute benefit claims before a change in the rules next week.

Scottish couples could lose up to £11,000 in Pension Credit if they fail to apply by midnight on Tuesday.

The Department of Work and Pensions announced earlier this year it would axe the benefit for "mixed age couples" - where one partner is still working age. The move has been dubbed the "age gap tax" or “toy boy tax” and widely slammed by campaigners.

Although the change came into effect in May, couples have until August 13th to put in a backdated claim. After this date, they will have to claim Universal Credit instead, leaving them on average £7000 a year worse off.

Pension Credit tops up weekly income for couples receiving less than £255 a week (or single pensioners receiving less than £167).

Age Scotland's Helpline has seen more than a 300 per cent increase in enquiries about Pension Credit compared with the previous year. Its advisers have been working flat out to help as many older people as possible get their claims in before the deadline.

Four in 10 eligible pensioners currently do not receive the benefit, losing a total of £330 million Scotland-wide. An estimated 4000 couples will be affected by the age gap tax.

Brian Sloan, the charity's Chief Executive, said: “We have never seen anything like it. Our Helpline team has been working flat out to ensure they help as many older people as possible.

“The ‘toy boy tax’ is completely unfair and will hit the poorest pensioners hardest. Older people who are struggling to get by could miss out on up to £11,000 a year, simply because they have a younger partner. This will have a devastating impact on those who need it most, pushing more into poverty.

“Not only will they miss out on Pension Credit, but they will also lose associated benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax reductions, and from next year, the free over-75s’ TV licence. This is money they should be entitled to - they have worked hard and contributed all their lives, and should be able to enjoy their retirement in dignity.

“Pension Credit is already shockingly under-claimed, with more than £330 million returned to the Treasury from Scotland every year.

“We are continuing to urge the Department of Work and Pensions to think again and do the right thing for all older people.

“But if you, or a family member, think there is even a slight chance you are entitled to Pension Credit, then we’d urge you to call our Helpline before midnight on Tuesday. It could be your last chance to claim thousands of pounds and make a huge difference to your standard of living.“

Age Scotland’s free Helpline offers benefit checks and other advice every weekday, between 9am and 5pm, on 0800 12 44 222.