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Latest News

Changes to Pension Credit for mixed age couples

Posted on January 15th 2019

The Mixed-Age Pension Credit cut – What does it really mean?

Men and women used to be able to get Pension Credit (PC) when you, or the oldest person in a couple reached 60*.

This was because 60* was previously the age when women could get their state pension. For couples it was always the age of the oldest person that mattered when it came to claiming PC.

(*This is now at least 65 due to Tory changes to women's retirement ages.)

No more!

From 15th May it will be the age of the youngest person that counts.

Where there are ‘mixed age couples’, with one partner above State Pension Age (SPA) and one below, from May they will now be forced to claim Universal Credit (UC) as they won’t be able to claim Pension Credit until the youngest person also reaches SPA.

Benefit rates for older people on Pension Credit (PC) can be over twice the rate of those paid to people of working age claiming UC.

April 2019?
Couple rate on Universal Credit £114.81 weekly
Couple rate on PC £255.25 weekly

A massive loss of over £140 weekly or over £7,000 yearly.

Other issues include savings / capital are much different when UC is claimed rather than PC, the loss of passporting entitlements etc, etc.

Work Incentives and Younger Partners?

From now until May 15th, if the younger partner is currently working, and thus their joint incomes are too high for PC, then it may make sense to stop, or reduce, work and claim Pension Credit now. This will avoid not being entitled later.


There are very many older people who do not receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

• About a third of pensioner households entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it
• Over half of home owners entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it
• Over half of all those entitled to Savings Pension Credit don’t claim it

A lot of these people, currently entitled, may have younger partners. The next four months will be their only opportunity to gain the Pension Credits and other benefits they may be entitled to, quite possibly substantial, for many, many years.

Lets see if Dumfries & Galloway Council do anything to help these Pensioner couples before May?

I will not hold my breath as they have done ZILCH to help local people previously due to their lack of knowledge when it comes to benefit entitlements.


Posted on February 20th 2018


I need your help to get in touch with the 1,100 people claiming UC in our area Dumfries & Galloway.

We have an opportunity for the next 3 months to get as many of these 1,100 people off UC and back onto the old style benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit if they wish to.

Many people already on UC will be financially a lot worse off now than on the old style benefits above, many will have experiencing hardship due to the waiting period and monthly payments, many will have serious rent arrears and most importantly many will be suffering stress, bullying and intimidation by Jobcentre staff.

Come May this year if it goes ahead D&G will become a “FULL UC” area when most people, couples and most families included trying to claiming any one of the above benefit for the first time or if they have certain changes in their circumstances will find they are forced to give up these old style benefits and forced to claim UC.

However anyone on these old benefits before May will remain on them for many years to come so it is very important to make sure you have claimed any of these old style benefits you might be entitled to now, a full benefit check by a competent adviser should only take a few minutes for you to find out if you, your family or friends are missing out or due something extra for the first time.

This is a very complicated area well beyond the ability off most to follow and understand hence the reason why it is so important to get specialist fully independent advice first before you do anything and before it’s to late.

Although this information is aimed at my area Dumfries & Galloway it could well apply to your area if your area is not yet a “Full UC” area check below to find out.


We are opening our office two extra days to help people with this.

At Lincluden Shops, Dumfries, Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 10am – 4pm

or call us anytime on 01387-266888 leave a message if busy

or email us anytime at info@welfarerights.net

or message us anytime at Dumfries Welfare Rights on Facebook

Mortgage Interest help on Benefits

Posted on August 11th 2017

Problems ahead for people on means tested benefits who have or due to future retirement / unemployment / sickness or disability expect help with their mortgage interest (MI)

At present around 140,000 households on means tested benefits get some help to pay their mortgage interest (In a similar way that people renting get housing benefit help to pay their rent), this mortgage interest help is part of their means tested benefit and is not repayable, just as any housing benefit help for renters is not repayable.

140,000 people many of these are family and pensioner households who at present have this mortgage interest help paid are about to lose out and find that any mortgage interest help given in future along with their means tested benefits is now a repayable interest bearing loan.

Approximately 50% of these 140,000 claimants are working age and families with the other 50% being of pension age that’s well over 70,000 pensioners who will be losing out.

When will MI loan payments be introduced?

MI loans will be introduced from 6 April 2018 for both new and existing claimants although phased in for existing has been mentioned.

Claimants currently getting help with mortgage interest that receive Income Support, Income-Related Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit or Universal Credit will be offered MI loan payments instead.

Homeowners will be required to pay back this loan plus interest to the DWP once their property is sold or ownership is transferred.

If there is sufficient equity in the property following a sale or transfer, the full amount must be repaid plus interest. However, if there is insufficient equity to cover the full loan amount borrowed, any amount still owed will be written off.

This looks like it will end up being like the bedroom tax for home owners, a simple solution to stop this would have been to make this change for new claimants only or leave things as they are as the cost to administer this will surely outweigh any savings.

A recent change means home owner’s claiming means tested benefits are now having to wait 39 weeks before any mortgage interest help is give when previously it was 13 weeks so this new change from April 2018 will only add to the problems faced by home owners already.

Benefit Cap changes

Posted on August 29th 2016


Worrying time ahead for large families and people in expensive accommodation claiming Housing Benefit help.

Further Tory cuts due in November will see a sharp rise in evictions and homelessness due to the benefit cap being reduced nationally to £384.62 weekly (£20,000 yearly) for couples and families and £257.69 weekly (13,400 yearly) for single people and in London £442.31 (£23,000 yearly) and £296.35 (15,410).

Although some people are exempt (See below) it is expected that over 100,000 adults and over 240,000 children will be affected by these new Tory cuts throughout the UK.

In our area Dumfries & Galloway around 150 families may see a sharp reduction to their Housing Benefit payments resulting in rent arrears and possible eviction.

Some families are exempt from these new cuts:

Follow the link below for a full list on exemptions


The charts below will help you see if you and your family will be affected.



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