Conditions of entitlement

The general entitlement rules affecting mixed-age couples are set out in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013). The definition of ‘mixed-age couple’ is set out in SI.No.37/2019.

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Basic upper age condition of entitlement

Section 4 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out the basic conditions of entitlement including (subject to exceptions) that a claimant has not reached pension age (the qualifying age for pension credit).

Exception to basic upper age condition for mixed-age couples

Regulation 3(2) of SI.No.376/2013

Makes provision for joint entitlement if one member of a couple is over pension age and one is under that age.

Definition of mixed-age couple

Regulation 2 of SI.No.37/2019

Defines a mixed-age couple as including one member that has attained pension age while the other has not (including for cases of polygamous marriages).

In Northern Ireland, the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015, and SR.No.216/2016 include provisions relating to mixed-age couples that are equivalent to those made in Great Britain. The definition of mixed-age couple is set out in SR.No.4/2019.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter M5

Includes guidance on mixed-age couples and circumstances when they may be prevented from claiming universal credit.

Local authority guidance

HB Adjudication Circular A9/2019

Provides guidance on the mixed-age couple’s policy in general, savings provisions, exceptions that restrict new universal credit claims, and transition to universal credit housing payments for mixed-age couples.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

We’re not aware of any case law relating to this issue.