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Benefits rule changes could cost pensioners in UK thousands a year

From 15 May, new pensioners with partners under 65 can no longer claim pension credit

Thousands of poorer UK pensioners who have partners of working age could lose up to £7,000 a year in top-ups as a result of imminent rule changes that will require them to claim universal credit as a couple.

Changes slipped out on Monday night by the Department for Work and Pensions mean that from 15 May, new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 can no longer claim a means-tested top-up called pension credit.

Instead they will be forced to claim the much less generous universal credit alongside their younger partners.

The couple rate of universal credit is £114.81 a week compared with £255.25 for a couple receiving pension credit. This amounts to a potential loss of £7,320 a year.Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service

Age UK described the change as a “substantial stealth cut” and said it could have a devastating effect on the health and wellbeing of some older people and increase the numbers of pensioners in poverty.

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