IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Universal credit will push some couples into poverty

23 November, 2018

• I WOULD like to highlight an issue that is not widely known, the situation of mixed-aged couples, where one receives pension credit and the other is working age, (‘Stress, misery and poverty’ in new system, November 16).

Mixed-aged couples will be prevented from claiming pension credits from next year, for new claimants and claimants who have a break in their claim. They will be expected to claim universal credit.

State pension, in most cases, is or will be more than the couple allowance of universal credit and they will in effect become disqualified. This is down to a change in law as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, which has redefined a mixed-age couple from a pensioner couple to a working couple.

This is a bad change of law that needs to be reversed as it is discriminating against mixed-aged couples, depriving them of support towards rent, cold-weather payments, health costs and the warm-home discount scheme applied to energy accounts.

There also wider ramifications for communities. Grandparents who support their adult children by providing free childcare to enable them to work will not be able to offer the same level of support or maybe no support at all, due to a lack of money to fuel their car, to pick the children up and drop them off.

Mixed-aged couples who live in private rented property will be hardest hit. It is highly likely they will become destitute or pushed into poverty, having to rely on foodbanks to get by. It will also leave some social care packaging unviable.

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