COUPLES could miss out on more than £7,000 a year after changes to pension credit.

AGE UK in Barrow has warned people over the age of 65 with a non-pensioner partner could lose out on cash thanks to upcoming changes to pension credit.

The government's plans will come into affect in May.

Marie Connor, information and advice manager for Barrow and District Age UK, urged people to seek help ahead of the changes, which could have a “huge effect” on people in the town.

She said: “We are trying to make sure people are aware that they could be affected by these changes because they could be hugely problematic.

“People should come and see and go elsewhere as soon they can to make sure they are not caught out.

“The news was announced quietly by the government before the last vote on Brexit in January and we wanted to make sure people knew about it.”

From May 15, new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 will no longer be able to claim a means-tested top-up called pension credit.

The changes would require couples to claim universal credit instead.

The couple rate of universal credit is £114.81 a week compared with £255.25 for a couple receiving pension credit.

This would leave couples with a potential loss of £7,320 a year.

Miss Connor: “People would have to go on to the dreaded universal credit, giving much less money a year.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “These changes were announced almost in a whisper when the nation’s focus was on a Brexit vote in parliament, but some mixed age couples stand to lose thousands of pounds.

“It is not fair that older couples – many of whom have contributed much to our communities – are being penalised in this way.

“In some cases it will mean couples being pushed into poverty which will put further strain on our foodbanks and other agencies.

“The government should think again.”

Older people worried about the changes to pension credit can contact Age UK Barrow and District on 01229 831425.