If you are single you are classed as a pensioner once you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit*.
If you are part of a couple**, you are classed as a pensioner if you have both reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit*.
If you are part of a couple and only one of you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit you have the choice:
- the person who has reached Pension Credit age (the older person of the couple) can make a claim for Housing Benefit for the both of you; or
- the person who has not yet reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit (the younger person in the couple) can make a claim for Universal Credit, for both of you.
However, you cannot receive Housing Benefit and the Housing Cost element of Universal Credit for the same period.
*The qualifying age for pension Credit is linked to the date that a woman qualifies for her State Retirement Pension. This qualifying age has been gradually increasing since 2010 and will be 65 for both men and women by November 2018.
**You are part of a couple if you live with your partner. A partner is someone you are married to or have a civil partnership with, or a person you live with as if you were their husband, wife or civil partner.
To see when you (or your partner if you have one) reach(ed) the qualifying age for Pension Credit, please use the Pension Age Calculator in the 'Related links' area of this page.