A half-day Workshop looking at the benefit entitlements of mixed age couples: HB, CTR, UC, SPC and legacy working age benefits.
ONLINE 'ZOOM' WORKSHOP
Tuesday, 16th November, 2021.
HALF Day Workshop: 1:15 - 4:30 / 4:45
Workshop Fee: £125 + VAT.
BENEFITS FOR MIXED AGE COUPLES
Mixed age couples are the subject of one of the most complex welfare reforms of recent years. Changes in their circumstances can result in a dramatic reduction to their income: correct advice and assessment procedures are vital in situations including:
· Older member reaching SPC age so that an existing couple “ages into” mixed age status;
· Newly formed mixed age couples;
· Separation or death of partner;
· Younger partner loses entitlement to working age legacy benefit;
· Different eligibility and aggregation rules in UC and legacy benefits.
We begin with a quick refresher covering the main principles introduced from May 2019 - generally, a pensioner can no longer be entitled to SPC if he or she has a working age partner; and it is no longer possible for either member of a mixed age couple to make a new claim for HB. But these general rules are subject to transitional protection for existing HB/SPC claimants and we will look at how transitional protection works to enable protected couples to remain on or make a new claim for HB/SPC. The other key feature of the rules introduced in May 2019 is the termination of existing HB awards when certain events occur - we will look in detail at exactly what these events are.
For those mixed age couples who remain on HB, or who are still able to make new claims for HB because of transitional protection or because they occupy supported accommodation or temporary accommodation, there are some very common errors around the calculation of HB entitlement. We will learn about the correct way to calculate HB in such cases, including:
· The applicable amount: pensioner or working age rate? Which premiums are available?
· Should the calculation treat the claimant as single or as a member of a couple?
· How should the eligible rent be determined: does the social sector “bedroom tax” apply?
The closure of the SDP gateway from January 2021 has removed some of the more difficult mixed age couple scenarios, where there was a risk of claimants being refused any benefits at all (no SPC, no HB, no legacy working age DWP benefit and no UC either) if decision makers got the rules wrong. Some of these cases remain in HB caseloads now and they are, in our opinion, among the most difficult to assess correctly. The workshop will ensure that delegates are fully aware of the rules for SDP cases. Equally tricky are cases where two people who are a couple for legacy benefit purposes are not treated as a couple for UC purposes – for example if one of them is absent from the household for between six and 12 months. We will also cover these scenarios.
Many claimants still wish to avoid migrating to UC if they possibly can (especially those with an SDP, where the rate of benefit is lower despite the transitional SDP element and despite the current £20 a week UC uplift). Many who have claimed UC when they did not need to wish that they could find a way back. We will look at exactly what the regulations say about a range of common scenarios – sometimes it is possible (and financially viable) to avoid UC. We will consider in particular:
· What happens if a mixed age couple claims UC but is not awarded UC?
· What happens if one member of a newly formed mixed age couple is on legacy working age benefits and the other is on Pension Credit?
Finally, we look at the Council’s CTR scheme: what does it say about mixed age couples? Which scheme do they fall under – working age or pensioner? This is particularly important when the local scheme does not provide 100% rebates for working age claimants on the lowest incomes.
Presented by Peter Barker, a hugely experienced trainer, appeals presenter and submission writer. He combines a wealth of first-hand experience with expert knowledge of adjudication legislation and has a real enthusiasm for the topic.
Contact us for In-House 'Zoom' booking information for this topic.
We are always pleased to arrange most of our Workshops, such as this one, for staff from an individual organisation.
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