Drop in pension credit for mixed-age couples comes into effect

Rule changes surrounding pension credit for mixed-age couples came into effect on 15 May, potentially leaving some families £7,000 a year worse off.

Pension credit was initially introduced by prime minister Gordon Brown to help pensioners who were struggling financially. In the past, state pension benefits were available to married Britons once the oldest of the two had reached state pension age.

However, the number of people who can claim pension credit is now being cut, meaning mixed-age couples will now have to claim universal credit instead. From 15 May, couples are only able to claim benefits for pensioners once both of them have hit the state pension age.

The maximum amount you can claim on universal credit totals £5,986, while state pension - a means-tested benefit - can pay out as much as £13,273 per year. This marks a total loss of £7,287 per year for couples affected by this change.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that approximately 60,000 mixed-age couples will be affected by this clamp down.