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  • FIRST POST
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 10th Feb 19, 7:56 PM
    • 13Posts
    • 1Thanks
    seaney53
    pension credit or esa advice
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 19, 7:56 PM
    pension credit or esa advice 10th Feb 19 at 7:56 PM
    Hi,
    I am due to take my state pension,I care for my wife who is 50 and receives pip and income related esa support group benefit.
    Already been told my entitlements to pension credit,but they said it may be better if wife stays on esa rather than my claim,I am not really sure why.
    I am aware that in the future if she is not entitled to esa the pension credit rules may have changed she would be too young to claim.
    Would it be best if we just claimed pension credit and my wife stopped claiming esa?
    Sorry if my enqury is a bit muddled!
Page 1
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Feb 19, 8:04 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:04 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:04 PM
    When do you reach Pension age?

    As a ‘mixed age’ couple you will not be able to claim Pension Credit after 15th May if you have not claimed it before then.

    In general if you have the choice Pension Credit will almost certainly pay more than income based ESA. You can do a comparison using a benefits calculator https://www.entitledto.co.uk. Just adjust your age slightly in order to make it calculate Pension Credit.

    Do you know if your wife’s ESA is entirely income based or whether it’s contribution based plus an income based top up. If there is a contribution based part this can continue but will be taken into account when working out your Pension Credit entitlement.

    Consider also that if your wife is on your Pension Credit claim she will not get any NI credits which she does get on ESA. You may wish to check how many years of credits she already has - she needs 35 years for a full state pension. She may be able to continue a credits only claim.

    Without wishing to be morbid, if you claim Pension Credit but you subsequently die before she reaches Pension age herself she will not be able to reclaim ESA but would have to claim Universal Credit instead.

    Does your wife get the Daily Living part of PIP and if so do you get Carer’s Allowance for looking after her?
    Last edited by calcotti; 10-02-2019 at 8:23 PM.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 10th Feb 19, 8:48 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:48 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:48 PM
    Thank you very much for that quick reply calcotti!
    I reach pension age in March,did not realise I was so close to ending of credits for mixed age couples.
    My wife's ESA is totally income based.
    Yes,I was wondering about her credits for state pension,and regarding wife having to claim UC is food for thought.
    My wife claims daily living allowance of PIP and I get carers allowance.
    The pension dept. calculated my entitlements including pension credits based on all the information.
    Need to make our minds up quickly which way to go!
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Feb 19, 8:50 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:50 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 19, 8:50 PM
    If you are not yet claiming it you should also claim Council Tax Reduction.

    The difference between Pension Credit and income based ESA is significant. I would expect PC to top your joint income up to £284.80/week (couple rate plus carer addition) whereas ESA will only go to £212.05 (couple plus couple enhanced premium plus support group component plus carer premium). These figures do not include your wifeís PIP which is ignored.

    The Carerís Allowance itself will of course stop when you start receiving your State Pension.

    EDITED to strike through incorrect advice.
    Last edited by calcotti; 10-02-2019 at 10:27 PM.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 10th Feb 19, 9:04 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:04 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:04 PM
    Once again thanks for the advice calcotti.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 10th Feb 19, 9:07 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    • #6
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:07 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:07 PM
    Just caught site of this article regarding the "mixed age" changes
    ps://inews.co.uk/news/universal-credit-dwp-benefits-pensioners-younger-partners-mixed-age-couples/

    Not great.
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 10th Feb 19, 9:37 PM
    • 28,368 Posts
    • 17,172 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #7
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:37 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:37 PM
    she needs 35 years for a full state pension.
    The OP's wife comes under transition arrangements - this may not be the case depending on her precise circumstances.

    She should obtain a new state pension statement.

    https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Feb 19, 9:48 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #8
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:48 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:48 PM
    The OP's wife comes under transition arrangements - this may not be the case depending on her precise circumstances.

    She should obtain a new state pension statement.

    https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension
    Originally posted by xylophone
    Thanks for picking that up. I completely agree about getting a forecast.
    • bigbill
    • By bigbill 10th Feb 19, 9:51 PM
    • 804 Posts
    • 471 Thanks
    bigbill
    • #9
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:51 PM
    PC v ESA
    • #9
    • 10th Feb 19, 9:51 PM
    The difference between Pension Credit and income based ESA is significant. I would expect PC to top your joint income up to £284.80/week (couple rate plus carer addition) whereas ESA will only go to £212.05 (couple plus couple enhanced premium plus support group component plus carer premium).
    Originally posted by calcotti
    Wrong

    At Pension Age your ESA will have an extra amount added to make it exactly the same as the above Pension Credit figure so nothing lost by you staying on ESA.

    As you are currently claiming ESA Income Based your partner can swop straight over onto Pension Credit and you can stop ESA and be done with ESA and all of the assessments, form filling and attending a work provider for you while on ESA.

    You / he will lose nothing financially.

    However if you stop the ESA as said above your National Insurance will not be paid so could effect your future old age pension etc.

    Obviously his old age pension when paid would be take away from the above (£284.80) Pension Credit or ESA figures above.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Feb 19, 10:25 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    Bigbill is correct. I had completely forgotten the pensioner premium in ESA. My apologies. What a great thing this forum is.

    OP, your decision therefore is not a financial one in the short term but it does affect your future options. Bigbill has highlighted the issues (although he’s reversed your benefit situation).

    If you continue to rely on your wife’s ESA you lose the option to apply for PC as a couple after 15th May. This does not matter if your wife continues to get ESA but if she is found fit for work and her ESA is stopped you will be left relying on just your pension. Depending on her health conditions you will have a view about how much of a risk this is.

    Staying on ESA means that she continues to get NI credits and, if you were to die, she has an ongoing ESA award already in place. However she will continue to have periodic capability for work assessments (unless she falls into a group with a long term condition that DWP have said they will leave alone). Because of her age it is unlikely she already has enough NI to have a full State Pension entitlement but if she worked in the past in well paid employment it is possible - hence the importance of getting a forecast.

    Because of the size of your age gap you obviously have a long period during which you cannot predict what will happen.
    Last edited by calcotti; 10-02-2019 at 10:58 PM.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 10th Feb 19, 10:58 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    Thank you for the advice everybody,what a brilliant forum,I am now aware of my options and have to make make my decision re a complex situation.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Feb 19, 11:07 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    There is another complication that occurs to me.

    Should have also said that if your wife stays on ESA she will be required to transfer to UC at some stage in the next few years. There is no pensioner premium in UC. If you were to compare normal UC entitlement and PC entitlement as a couple you would definitely be worse off on UC. By my calculation the UC weekly rate would be £227 (standard allowance plus LCWRA element plus carer element) less your pension - as against £284.80. Given that your wife is 17 years away from her state pension this would be likely to affect you as a couple for over 10 years.

    This may swing you towards a PC claim and your wife could investigate continuing with a credits only ESA claim for herself, if she does need more credits.

    However I should add that when the ESA to UC transfers take place it is intended that there will be transitional protection so that people are not worse off. However the details have not yet been legislated for. My reading of the draft legislation http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111174265/regulation/2 is that there is full protection at the point of transfer but that this can be lost by future changes in circumstances. Can anybody else add to this?

    Because the change in rules is now attracting some criticism (even though the legislation was passed in 2012) it is also possible there will be changes to UC in the future to help mixed age couples but nothing has been suggested currently and it is not government policy.
    Last edited by calcotti; 11-02-2019 at 8:35 AM.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 11th Feb 19, 11:40 AM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    Just realised there would be an issue if there is a change in circumstance eg,PIP is altered to another level or even stopped .We would have to come off pension credits and then transfered over to universal credit and lose hundreds of pounds a month.
    Must brace myself for possibly going back to work eventually,health allowing!
    Due to the fact I was my wife's carer I think there is a carers element included in my pension credit assessment,and if wife has PIP stopped I will cease to be entitled to the carers element,so will have to declare a change of circumstances?
    Last edited by seaney53; 11-02-2019 at 11:51 AM.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 11th Feb 19, 12:11 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    Just realised there would be an issue if there is a change in circumstance eg,PIP is altered to another level or even stopped .We would have to come off pension credits and then transfered over to universal credit and lose hundreds of pounds a month.
    Must brace myself for possibly going back to work eventually,health allowing!
    Due to the fact I was my wife's carer I think there is a carers element included in my pension credit assessment,and if wife has PIP stopped I will cease to be entitled to the carers element,so will have to declare a change of circumstances?
    Originally posted by seaney53
    You are correct. You will only have the underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance (which is worth £36/week in Pension Credit, ESA and UC) if your wife gets the daily living part of PIP (at either rate).

    Whether loss of this would result in you missing out on Pension Credit completely depends on how much Pension Credit you are expecting to get.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 11th Feb 19, 12:29 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    We have been told we are getting £143 pension credit,if we lose the carers element that would obviosly reduce ,which fair enough,but the change of circumstances would apply and we stand to lose a lot more if we are moved on to UC .
    Hope all pensioners in mixed age situations are aware of the new rules.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 11th Feb 19, 2:06 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    We have been told we are getting £143 pension credit,if we lose the carers element that would obviosly reduce ,which fair enough,but the change of circumstances would apply and we stand to lose a lot more if we are moved on to UC .
    Hope all pensioners in mixed age situations are aware of the new rules.
    Originally posted by seaney53
    So even if you lost the Carer's element you would still get £107 Pension Credit. I infer your State Pension will be about £142.
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 11th Feb 19, 2:14 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    Yep, that's correct.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 13th Feb 19, 4:34 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    For those who want to read it there is new guidance about these changes affect housing benefit here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2019/a32018-mixed-age-couples-changes-to-entitlement-conditions-from-15-may-2019
    • seaney53
    • By seaney53 15th Feb 19, 5:56 PM
    • 13 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    seaney53
    Re. a change in circumstances for mixed aged couples,they maybe able to reapply for pension credit after 15 May if they have been claiming housing benefit.
    That's how I read it on You Gov Pension Credit Advice.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 15th Feb 19, 6:20 PM
    • 1,561 Posts
    • 1,076 Thanks
    calcotti
    Re. a change in circumstances for mixed aged couples,they maybe able to reapply for pension credit after 15 May if they have been claiming housing benefit.
    That's how I read it on You Gov Pension Credit Advice.
    Originally posted by seaney53
    I think this can only apply if one of them was over pension age on 14th May.
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