On 14 January, the Government announced that it is making it harder for couples to claim Pension Credit.
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of pension age. It is designed to top-up the income of people who do not have a full State Pension.
New rules for couples
The Government has said that from 15 May 2019 it will be changing the criteria that decides when couples can claim Pension Credit.
Previously, once 1 member of a couple reached pension age then both would be entitled to make a joint claim. However, from May, couples will only be able to make a joint claim once both members of the couple have passed State Pension age.
Those who manage to claim Pension Credit before 15 May will not be affected by this new rule, even if 1 of the couple is below State Pension age.
Why is this important?
When a person is living with Parkinson's it is often the partner who is their primary carer, which makes it difficult for them to work and earn an income.
Where a couple is prevented from claiming Pension Credit in this way they will be losing out on vital income. In addition, it also means that the older member of the couple is being prevented from receiving the retirement benefits that they deserve.
Parkinson's UK Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser Michael Griffin said:
"It's unacceptable that people are being prevented from getting the benefits they need simply because of the age of the person they are in a relationship with. Anyone who meets the criteria for Pension Credit is already on a low income. This is once again taking money away from those who need it most.
"The Government should scrap this change and give people peace of mind in their retirement."
Questions about benefits
Our helpline and local advisers are here to answer any questions you have about Parkinson's, including accessing benefits and support.