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Housing Benefit / Child benefit Issue

(25 Posts)
namechangetoaskapersonalquesti Tue 22-Oct-13 14:14:43

Does anyone work for or know about HB or CB rules as I could do with some help.

Slightly complicated but basically my partner and his ex have 2 children. We have shared residency, they live EXACTLY 50% of the time in each home. She claimed via CSA for maintenance despite having shared costs, so he claimed for the Child Benefit. He was awarded one child's CB and all has been easy and what we consider "fair" until now...

I am a SAHM with a tiny baby also have an older child. He has always worked full time but has just been made redundant. His job is fairly specialist and luckily his company offered him a similar job, less pay and less hours but better than nothing.

I have checked and we are eligible for Housing Benefit, which we hope will tide us over until I can get a job or he can get another full time job. We hate having to claim benefits as never have before, but hopefully it will be short term ish and don't really have any other choice.

The issue is I have tried to make our claim via Housing Benefit and they have said as we do not have the CB for one of his sons our claim is MUCH less than it would be if we did. Almost £100 a week less. A child can only be classed as living with you IF you have the CB claim. We only have a 3 bed house but they have deemed us as having a "spare" bedroom" and that his 8 yr old son and my 9 yr old daughter should/could be sharing a bedroom, this further reduces our entitlement to HB.

His ex works full time, lives in their old home (still jointly owned) so has a really low mortgage and doesn't currently claim or need to claim any benefits. He has explained our issue and asked her to please transfer the CB to him for a few months until we are back on our feet and he will reimburse her the £80 each month but she won't. It will literally make a difference of nearly £350 HB a month to us! sad

Sorry for long story, but does anyone know if CB will consider this as as a reason to award him the CB claim despite his ex not agreeing? That sounds really awful but we don't really know what else to do, DP would ensure she wasn't left out of pocket of course. I didn't realise CB was needed to secure other benefits. It would also mean we could claim free school meals, reduced monthly water charges (we have a water meter it would reduce our monthly fee by about £80) and other things that we cannot get without it. I understand the government don't want to pay out twice for children who have 2 homes but still sad

caroldecker Tue 22-Oct-13 19:41:20

Sorry, but the rules still split between resident and non-resident parent even when 50:50 care, so the child benefit is normally taken to indicate residency.
However, this case has said that HMRC cannot take account of child benefit when deciding on child tax credits, so a discussion with a lawyer may be worthwhile to see if the principle extends to housing benefit.

namechangetoaskapersonalquesti Wed 23-Oct-13 09:59:39

Thanks Carol. I'm a bit confused though, Housing Benefit have told us they cannot accept an application including any children we don get the Child Benefit for. Are you saying that is incorrect? I know we don't need CB for Tax Credits but I have a feeling it's not the same for HB?

bimbabirba Wed 23-Oct-13 21:00:54

I believe there is discretion that LA can exercise regarding this issue i.e. they can increase your applicable amount by counting the child even though you didn't get cb for him/her. The problem you have is that the child doesn't really reside exclusively with you so it's difficult to argue that you should get the extra HB as he spends half of the time with his dad and you already get CB for his sibling.
Basically you'd be arguing that you should be able to claim for him because you need the money more than your ex and that's not going to go down well with any decision maker.

caroldecker Thu 24-Oct-13 00:27:14

I am saying the law is not clear and, in your shoes, I would go to the CAB to discuss

PolterGoose Thu 24-Oct-13 14:06:08

carol the rules are quite clear, see Shelter's guide to the bedroom tax

SoonToBeSix Thu 24-Oct-13 15:26:42

Polter the question is about applicable amounts not bedroom tax

PolterGoose Thu 24-Oct-13 15:35:04

But surely the bedroom tax is the reason HB are saying the 2 children should be sharing, which leaves OP with a 'spare bedroom' according to HB confused

caroldecker Thu 24-Oct-13 15:39:09

polter

The law was the same on child tax credits, ie linked to child benefits, but the courts decided this was not a permissable policy.
All I am suggesting is this might apply to HB - worth talking to someone I would have thought.

SoonToBeSix Thu 24-Oct-13 20:10:14

Yes Polter the bedroom tax will reduce the amount of hb but not by as much as losing the applicable amount per child will reduce it.

bimbabirba Thu 24-Oct-13 20:54:28

Might be worth applying for discretionary housing payments as well as, or instead of, fighting the Council over this.

PolterGoose Thu 24-Oct-13 21:00:37

Soon and Carol yes, I see that now. However, what the OP proposes (to transfer the CB claim temporarily to increase their entitlement to HB) would be considered fraudulent.

caroldecker Fri 25-Oct-13 01:27:09

polter
why fradulent - they share care 50/50, so why is one parent claiming hb fraudulent? Under your opinion, parents claiming CB when one child shared 50:50 is fradulent

Rockchick1984 Fri 25-Oct-13 07:59:06

Re "spare" bedroom, you have 3 children living with you, plus the other child who (for benefit purposes) lives with his mum, so that would mean you are eligible for a 3 bed property - 2 children in one room, one in another, you and DP in the third? So bedroom tax shouldn't come into it surely confused

fortyplus Fri 25-Oct-13 08:03:35

I work in Housing but not Benefits so I'm far from expert, but where I work there's a good chance you'd be given a discretionary payment if you applied for one. But it's not back dated so make an appointment today! smile

PolterGoose Fri 25-Oct-13 08:05:28

carol the OP is proposing to transfer CB purely for the purposes of increasing her benefits (she says they will give the CB back to mum) that sounds fraudulent to me.

Oodisgonnagetya Fri 25-Oct-13 08:07:53

Tiny baby doesn't count until they are one.

Rockchick1984 Fri 25-Oct-13 08:15:43

Must vary by area then - my local HA count children from birth confused

Oodisgonnagetya Fri 25-Oct-13 08:24:15

Ours expect babies to share with parents for the first year.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 25-Oct-13 10:42:29

Would it not make more sense to go back to your old job as surely you are still within your maternity leave period or did you not work before?

I am not surprised that the ex will not give up the rights of CB just so you can take more in benefits, the current set up is very fair if they have 50/50 custody and each claim for one CB. Why should she lose out because you dont work?

bimbabirba Fri 25-Oct-13 13:36:07

It is dodgy to say the least to have CB transferred so that the HB applicable amount is increased and then pay it back to the other claimant. Isn't it blatantly obvious?
Discretionary housing payments are designed to cover situations where an extra room is required for disability reasons and where there are children from previous relationships staying with the NRP so that's really her best bet, not to force the Council's hand about adding the second child to the claim.
The amount from discretionary housing payment may not be as much as you would get if the other child was added to your claim as they would remove the "bedroom tax" penalty but not increase your applicable amount (I.e. not increase the number of children)

barmar Mon 28-Oct-13 15:15:43

Hi,can anyone advise me please? I live in a council house but Half own a one bed semi my husband (wer'e seperated) lives in.
I applied for housing benefit as my earnings barley cover my rent but have been told that as I own half the other property I am not entitled to H/B. I will have to either force a sale of the property or buy my husband would have to buy me out, niether of which is a viable solution.
Is this right, me and my two children are living on about £50 a week after bills and I.m dreading Christmas.

mumtobealloveragain Mon 28-Oct-13 18:09:39

I don't see why transferring child benefit to help the other parent is in any way fraudulent. It's perfectly legal to decide between two separated parents who receives the benefit, it doesn't even have to be the parent with majority care.

Yes, in our LA a baby isn't counted for occupancy until it's reached 1 yr old. So 2 adults, 2 children (both under ten) and a baby in a 3 bed house works out to one spare bedroom. hmm

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 28-Oct-13 18:51:01

barmar I would start a new thread but that sounds about right, if you have a mortgage it will affect any housing benefit you get

littlegem12 Mon 28-Oct-13 19:01:32

OP I dont understand how he is entitled to HB if he is a home owner (joint with ex or not)
I thought the rules would not allow that.

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