We have to think about many things when picking a partner: Do they have a good job? Do they like cats? Or dogs? Do they bring you breakfast in bed? While age has always been one of the things to think about, the government wants you to think a little harder about your partner’s age.
Pension Credit changes for mixed-aged couples
From the 15th May 2019, pensioners will no longer be able to apply for Pension Credit if their partner is still of working age. They will need to apply for and claim Universal Credit instead until their partner also reaches State Pension age. For those with partners who will reach pension age at the same time as themselves, this won’t be a problem.
However, if, like me, your partner is younger, you’ll have to wait. In my case, I would have to wait seven years, which is bad enough, but imagine having to wait 10 or 20 years.
Couples can usually receive £255.25 a week on Pension Credit, but for those on Universal Credit can only receive £115.13 each week – a loss of income of around £7,300 a year. Multiply that by seven years and I would lose over £50,000. Situations like these happen everywhere across Great Britain.
The impact for those with Parkinson's
For people with Parkinson’s and other health conditions this change will be even harder. Long-term health conditions become more likely as we grow older. The expectations of developing one increase as people age, but what is less considered than the health conditions themselves are the extra costs they will cause.
There are more than 125,000 people over the age of 65 in the UK living with Parkinson’s.
Some of the difficulties older people with Parkinson’s face will be familiar to people with other conditions. And the extra costs are no exception.
A household affected by Parkinson's loses an average of £16,582 a year due to higher health and social care costs, and reduced income due to early retirement.
Depending on the condition or the situation, there will be different costs, but there will almost always be an extra financial burden facing those with long-term health conditions. That’s why half of all households living in poverty, have someone with a disability as part of that household.
People receiving benefits have low incomes, and that extra £7,300 each year would make a massive difference.
This change to Pensions Credit will leave even more disabled pensioners living in poverty.
For anyone trying to deal with the extra costs that a long-term health condition causes, losing such a huge amount of money could be devastating.
Michael Griffin is a Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson’s UK
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
If you have been affected by any of the issues described in this blog, or simply need someone to reach out to, you can call the Parkinson’s UK helpline on 0808 800 0303. You can also visit their website http://www.parkinsons.org.uk for more information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age