Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Child Tax credit scary Letter~Confused

(57 Posts)
passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:07:19

I received a letter today saying my child tax credit is under review because they have run a credit check and can see my X partner as still living here. He does still live here but we live as permanently separated (until we can afford a divorce) and I have always told them this. They themselves told me I could claim as a single parent if we were permanently separated but still living in the same house. We were forced to stay together due to severe financial problems with neither one being able to afford to move out. He pays me maintenance, which I use to pay food and some bills but he does pay some of the bills also. He eats, sleeps, washes and lives separate from me. Most of the bills are in my name except for the council tax which we never bothered to amend. I can't understand why they have pounced on me when they said to go ahead and claim in my circumstances anyway. My bank account is in my name but a couple of bills are still in joint names. Apparently we can now be in trouble for this? If he is paying the mortgage and some bills because he lives under the same roof but separated from me, surely they can see he would pay some bills? Has anyone got any advice on what to expect as I get a bad feeling even though we really are separated and they themselves accepted that without question till now? Very worried ty

ThingummyBob Thu 14-Feb-13 08:14:29

Its pretty clear cut about when to make a single or joint claim hmm


You are living together and therefore should have made a joint claim. Best thing is to co-operate fully and hope that they simply reclaim the overpaid amounts (if that is the case) rather than applying fines or penalties on top.

RedHelenB Thu 14-Feb-13 08:20:56

If he is paying some bills, the mortgage & maintenance then in effect your financial lives are still joint & you shouldn't be making a separate claim.

RedHelenB Thu 14-Feb-13 08:22:07

Not being funny, but every couple could do this & be raking it in. I think it will just be a case of having to pay any overpayment back.

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:39:39

We are living as permanently separated . I even doubled checked with them that I could claim! Can anyone not judge but instead help! ty

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:42:49

Yep thingymebob it is! It states if you are under the same roof but living as separated you can claim as a single person. I even double checked at the time! They were the ones that told me I could!

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:43:18

we are not living 'together'

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:44:00

that may be the case but we are not a couple anymore. I just want someone to stop judging and help!

RedHelenB Thu 14-Feb-13 08:44:39

I'm not judging but from what you have written to an outsider looks as though you are still linked financially. I think that it would be easier to allow claims only if you are living separately precisely because of the situation you now find yourselves in. It may well be that when they investigate it they will see you are living separately so don't worry.

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:46:36

thanks...even after a divorce people are linked financially....they told me it was fine he paid maintenance... seems they get people to apply then pounce on them later! I gave full honest arrangements and details! thanks for help

HystericalParoxysm Thu 14-Feb-13 08:46:39

You can claim as a single person whilst still under the same roof. However, as the rules state, you are expected to have separate bank accounts as well as not eating, sleeping, socialising together.

fergoose Thu 14-Feb-13 08:48:38

when you told them you were separated and they advised you what to claim was it via phone - do you know the date? They record calls don't they?

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 08:50:01

Yes, we have separate bank accounts and all the rest. They don't say anything about who pays the bills /some of bills? Is there a Citizens advice person available? ty smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 08:56:54

I know you don't want to be judged but 'judgement' is the only way HMRC (or the benefits system generally) can do this kind of thing. If you appear to be cohabiting to all intents and purposes you are determined to be cohabiting. I'm sure you did tell them all this in advance but I don't think you've met the criteria for being deemed 'separate'.... sorry.

gracehedley Thu 14-Feb-13 09:08:51

OP, this happened to me. I had to give very detailed info about our lifestyles and how the bills were paid etc, and also supply a letter from the solicitor which showed that divorce proceedings were underway and that this was a temporary living arrangement - even though it went on for a couple of years.

ThingummyBob Thu 14-Feb-13 09:15:39

Yep thingymebob it is! It states if you are under the same roof but living as separated you can claim as a single person. I even double checked at the time! They were the ones that told me I could!

Where exactly?

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 09:27:17

if you go on the website you can look it up

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 09:28:23

not true Cogito..but ty

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 09:29:26

hi grace, was he still paying some of the bills?

gracehedley Thu 14-Feb-13 09:44:11

Hi, I paid for everything and then he gave me a percentage. We also did absolutely NOTHING together - no socialising, no outings with our son, he didn't use washing machine, had separate food cupboard in kitchen, lots of things like that. Had to explain all this to them and did expect a visit, but they decided it wasn't needed. Divorce was in process and I think having evidence of this helped.

ThingummyBob Thu 14-Feb-13 09:51:42

Do you have a link please OP?

I can't seem to find anywhere that says two unmarried ex partners who share responsbility for household bills could be seemed as separate for tc purposes?

I may be missing something. . .

ThingummyBob Thu 14-Feb-13 09:54:05

You should be aware that a married couple legally separating/divorcing (as graces situation suggests) are not the same as unmarried co-habitees 'separating' yet remaining under the same roof and sharing household bills as your post suggests.

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 10:03:02

If you read my post you will see I said we are still married, not yet divorced. Just mind your own business now and stop throwing stones

ThingummyBob Thu 14-Feb-13 10:21:16

ok then, you'll have no problem clearing it all up then will you wink

Locketjuice Thu 14-Feb-13 10:27:47

I have always been told that if living together you are counted as 'together' whether that's romantically or not, so I presume all the money you have claimed you will have to pay back, but be able to make a joint claim and pay it back bit by bit out of that

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 14-Feb-13 10:31:41

From a legal standpoint, and with no judgement at all:

If you can prove that you are completely separated, you'll be okay. That means that you can be living in the same house, but you must live like lodgers do. So pay bills separately, pay rent separately, buy separate food, not have access to each others' bank accounts, separate contents' insurance, separate debts/credit accounts etc.

This will be the type of thing that they are now looking into. If you still behave as a couple, your claim will be invalid, and you'll need to make a joint claim until one of you actually leaves. It's generally better to point out that you've made a mistake yourself and make a plan to pay back any overpayment than to let them discover that you've been claiming at the wrong rate, because they'll be looking back over the period of the claim rather than just how things stand at the moment. So cancelling everything this morning won't help!

If you are living separately and your finances and lifestyle prove this, you've got nothing to worry about.

The rules may seem harsh, but there has to be a way of the government differentiating between people who have actually split up and people who are just desperate so pretend to be split up to get a higher payment, and this is how it is currently done.

5madthings Thu 14-Feb-13 10:36:13

The op is right you can a single parent if you live together but have seperated.

Op the 'gingerbread' organisation for single parents may be able to offer advice.

The he has been paying bills? Instead of paying any bills he needs to give you money as maintenance and you pay that. I looked into this as do andi had issues (now resolved) and he was going to pay the mortgage but he would of had to give me the money and then i could do what i want with it ie pay mortgage but it would go down as maintenamce money.

Have you started divorce proceedings/ spokem to a soliceter?

passingcat Thu 14-Feb-13 12:27:28

Thanks for your help. I'm guessing then if he pays any of the bills from his own account ie: council tax it will be a problem? ty?

5madthings Thu 14-Feb-13 12:31:00

Yes that would be a problem. He needs to give money to you and you pay i think.

SamSmalaidh Thu 14-Feb-13 12:37:01

I would also ask them for copies of all correspondence they have had with you, and recordings of all your calls, so you have proof that they knew about you living together.

JaquelineHyde Thu 14-Feb-13 12:48:43

He needs to live with you as a lodger and so will have nothing to do at all with any of the bills etc.

When I seperated from my (now) ex H, he lived with us for several months until eventually moving out into lodgings in another house.

I took over the whole running of the house and he remained as a lodger, I was able to claim everything I needed to as a single parent and a full time student and recieved all benefits as I would if he was not living in the same house.

Unfortunately passing you have not been living as a seperated couple. You have been living as a non sexual couple but still a financial couple and because of that you are not allowed to claim tax credits as a single person as they are based on finances and not whether you are a family or not.

I would put your hands up, be very apologetic, explain everything in writing and hope they see that this is a genuine mistake and just reduce your payments to re-pay any over payment. I would also change all of the bills into your name and ensure that your dh knows that he is there as a lodger or you hand it all over to him and you become the lodger.


morethanpotatoprints Thu 14-Feb-13 12:59:59

I don't know much about your circumstance, but I know about over payment as my dh is self employed and we were paid about 4k too much at one time.

Ok if it is a large amount and you can afford it they can and will take 40% off your monthly payment. This is the max they are allowed to take. If you can't afford the 40% they look at your existing finance and work out how much you will pay back.
Don't worry, they won't expect you to pay it all back at once and won't stop your existing claim.

RedHelenB Thu 14-Feb-13 13:03:47

They will have to stop the claim if they decide she isn't entitled to tax credits as a single parent.

NotAQueef Thu 14-Feb-13 13:16:46

the HMRC site says this- see below

You're married or in a civil partnership - and you're both in the UK

Make a joint claim - unless one of the following applies, in which case make a single claim:
• you are separated under a court order
• you are separated and this is likely to be permanent

Civil partnerships are the equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples.

Example of a joint claim

Pauline and John have been married for 15 years and have three children. They have grown apart and rarely spend time together. John eats most of his evening meals at the pub but still lives with Pauline at the same address. John occasionally gives Pauline money towards the household bills. Pauline and John have decided they will not separate until their children have grown up.

Pauline and John should make a joint claim as they are still married, and not legally or permanently separated.

passingcat Fri 15-Feb-13 03:09:48

that doesn't apply to me as we are permanently separated. I've sought legal advice but ty for all comments

WhoWhatWhereWhen Fri 15-Feb-13 04:03:16

Go to your local CAB and get some proper advice, make sure you take any letters you have with you

snigger Fri 15-Feb-13 04:57:59

Don't ignore the letter. Call the caseworker. Advise them to check notes, tell them you were advised to claim singly under previous guidance, and for the love of god appeal within thirty days or preferably make a formal complaint if they end your claim, on the basis of misguidance. Let the caseworker know you made the single claim purely on the basis of advisor guidance from the helpline.

passingcat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:49:38

hi, this is the criteria i was told to claim under as this is the does mention paying some bills jointly so if the bills are in his name or mine surely they will understand we are just trying to pay the bills...peopleare saying id some of the bills are still in his name they class us as still a couple which is seems very strange as paying a bill doesn't make people a couple, but anyway, thought to post this so people see the situation, ty for all those who chose to help and be kind about it.. it's not easy posting personal stuff to then get attacked..Example - living together, separated

A couple who are LTACP decide to separate, but one cannot afford to move out and the other refuses to because she owns the property. They no longer socialise together, cook/clean or undertake chores for each other, although occasionally one may do the others’ laundry with hers to save costs. Each has her own bedroom/living room and stores toiletries/food separately but they share bathroom/kitchen facilities. The property owner continues to pay the mortgage and gets monies towards this and other household bills from her ex partner. Although they still share the same address, they should stop claiming jointly from the date they were no longer LTACP.

passingcat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:52:39

sorry i pasted the wrong one, that is for partners not is the situation I fall under Example - married couple, separated

A married couple whose relationship has broken down continue to live in the same house as they are currently unable to sell it and neither can afford to rent or buy other accommodation. In the meantime they live separate lives, no longer socialise together and their friends do not consider them to be a couple. They continue to jointly pay some household bills but pay for their own food and other personal items. They haven’t yet started divorce proceedings but do not intend to resume living together as husband and wife. Despite living in the same house, they should no longer claim jointly from when they became separated in circumstances likely to be permanent.

HystericalParoxysm Sat 16-Feb-13 09:31:59

I don't know why you're posting all this really, OP.
You are convinced you're in the right, so that's fine, no problem, explain to DWP/HMRC, not us. No use just getting uppity with other posters when they say anything to the contrary. <shrugs>

passingcat Sat 16-Feb-13 10:33:46

Because I'm confused over the bill side of things and wondered if others are in a similar situation who can offer advice. Sorry but I don't need your permission to post, if you don't like it, don't read it or answer. No right to dictate to me what I should do. I'm looking for support from non judgemental people in a similar situation. You obviously don't like supporting people and I ignore stone throwers and judgmental types. That is the trouble with sharing private details, you have to deal with the stonethrowers when all people want is some support. Good Day.

minibmw2010 Sat 16-Feb-13 15:00:30

Basically your mistake was not to put all bills in your name, by allowing his name to remain on any (and by him paying them) you're giving him rights that a lodger just wouldn't have and that makes him a co-habitee whether you like it or not.

JaquelineHyde Sat 16-Feb-13 15:12:46

passing Have you read my post?

I was in your situation, I have been where you are exactly. I shared this with you and offered advice, not judgement.

You ignored it, I presume because it didn't say what you wanted it to say?

I hope you get it sorted out and that tax credits are sympathetic to your mistake. I would however, drop the attitude you have at the moment to try and ensure this.

HystericalParoxysm Sun 17-Feb-13 07:48:57

Passing, your thread originally caught my eye because I too have been in this position. I am not being 'judgemental'. Neither am I suggesting that you need my permission to post. I'm saying that so far you have been given lots of advise and information from others who have been in the same situation - but you have rejected all suggestions and insisted that you are correct. This would not be a wise way to approach the issue with the tax credits office. The decision makers' guides on what constitutes LTAC are available on the HMRC and DWP websites. Perhaps you would find those less 'judgemental'.

MummytoKatie Sun 17-Feb-13 10:53:52

Do you know when the call was made where they said you were single. Usually when we call people about this type of thing we scribble on e relevant bill 12/9/12 10:32 Susie so if necessary we can say "but I called you at ..... And spoke to Susie and she said...."

Go hunting on old phone bills if necessary.

Have you spoken to a solicitor about the divorce? That would help.

My own experience is slightly different but my husband was once part self employed. Every time we phoned the revenue we got a different answer. So I'm not surprised there is a muddle.

screamadelica Thu 21-Feb-13 10:44:23

Hello Op this is happening to me. My Dh moved out in Dec 11 he lived in a caravan whilst saving for a cred..don't believe me and my money has stopped as of Jan. I have 3 children and we are living off's now going to appeal. I have provided them with numerous pieces of evidence to prove he no longer lives here. He used this address for a mobile phone contract..this is why they think he lives with me???!!!! Our only financial link is that he pays half the mortgage. He doesn't give me any other money. I t the worst time I've ever had....I wish you luck op.

screamadelica Thu 21-Feb-13 11:00:29

Reading your plight has made me feel less alone...they never said I had to provide any evidence when I changed to a single claim...this was when we were still under the same roof.. it's a big mess..
I would appreciate any legal advice from anyone whos in the know. Please

JingleMum Sat 23-Feb-13 10:18:20

Passing screamdelica really sorry this is happening to you, must be awful. Can i ask, are you ex's claiming tax credits as a single person too? Also, how long ago did you start making the claim as a single person? Was it recently and they've looked in to you straight away? Or was it a while ago?

ProphetOfDoom Sat 23-Feb-13 10:31:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

screamadelica Sun 24-Feb-13 10:32:00 my stbxh isn't claiming anything. I made the single claim in oct 11..and was told as long as we were not living as a couple I could claim as a single . I even rang back to double check. He moved out in dec11 as it had become unbearable. He carried on paying half the mortgage and for the sky tv, internet. He hasn't givenme any money. But that was our is these financial interactions that have caused the tax credits to run a check. We have no actual proof that he lived in the caravan for 12 months..he has now moved into a flat. The rules for claiming tax creds are so vague. Its just a mess. Thanks for the reply.

screamadelica Sun 24-Feb-13 10:35:56

Matilda....thanks I just might do that. I have made an app with a solicitor for monday. So will know more then I hope.!!! Thanks again for your reply.

JingleMum Sun 24-Feb-13 14:27:34

scream so the sky & mobile phone bill was in his name & being paid for out of his account since oct 2011 when you made the single person claim? Does the mortgage payment come out of his account? Surely this could just be a custody arrangement, it doesn't prove he is living there? Now he has a place of his own i presume he has a council tax bill to show him living at another address? Let us know how you get on at the solicitors.

Also, did they just write to you in january 2013 out of the blue? If you've been single since october 2011, why have they only just picked up on the financial link now?

passingcat Wed 27-Feb-13 16:28:32

Just to say I haven't logged in for a few days as I've been very unwell with my asthma. I appreciate so much of the advise on here but was taken aback by some! If i didn't answer you it is because I'm unwell and stressed out. All I can say is I applied for child tax credit on the advice of the operator, giving correct and truthful deatails. A citeria that they now say you must meet was never put forth-ever! ie: the separated partner can not be paying any of the bills e.t.c.. that has just be thrust at so many people. I will ask why all these questions were not put in the original application. Is looking like I might have to pay it back, but it was claimed in good faith and two advisors telling me to go ahead with few questions asked. Thanks again to all the really nice people who tried to help. I won't be back to the forum so everyone have a great day and hopefully anyone else in this mess can benefit from all the good advice given here. Basically our country is bankrupt and they can't really afford to pay anyone tax credits.Take Care.

alip76 Wed 12-Jun-13 20:52:41

Hi- issue with letter from HMRC stating that they calculate my weekly childcare cost to be £18/week (!) when my actual is £129. I sent proof of my payment history from my nursery so not sure how they have arrived at this figure. I pay £234 per month (thru childcare vouchers, therefore legally avoiding paying tax & NI on this sum, and my ex husband also says £234 the same way) and I also pay an additional £20/month to top up to the actual monthly figure of approx £558/month.
My guess is that they believe the childcare vouchers to be 'free money' i obtain rather than paid for directly to the nursery by me from my salary, so have arrived at their £18/week figure due to this.
Can anyone offer any help as I am concerned my tax credit payments will be significantly reduced and i cannot speak to anyone til tomorrow morning- i'm not going to be able to sleep tonight as i'm so worried by the letter :-(

Sidge Wed 12-Jun-13 21:39:08

alip76 I believe your eligibility for the childcare element of Tax Credits is reduced when you use childcare vouchers; you can't claim the full entitlement for both.

Have a look here

J91983 Sat 06-Jul-13 12:29:17

You've not done anything wrong,every person has a diff situation I've been accused,received my letter about mr x who is not here.I rang straight away to get a delightful officer at Preston who over the phone stopped my award! They're not allowed to do by the way.He Didnt tell me what evidence was needed etc but reading on here I proceeded to send relavant proof with the backing of my mp.4 wks with no money now and my evidence slowly being returned as "insufficient" he ignored my pleas that myself & homosexual cousin now live together as his mum & my dad both died 12hrs apart dec 17th 2012,he's my best friend & family he's on my council tax but evidence is being ignored each officer is luck of the draw,my evidence would b more than enough with 1 officer yet another dismissed!! They make it up as they go along every household is different! If you ring & they advise then then they backtrack its their fault not yours appeal I am!! I'm not paying money I do not owe I'm certainly not giving in when they are NOT listening trying to bully ppl they can kiss it.dwp clearly state rules hmrc do not,they don't give clear rules as someone already tried "freedom of information act" with the rules us singles should abide by.It was refused! How can the public abide rules,not knowing what's wrong when we do not know the rules??? All we know is were single with no financial help from ex which is the "norm" as single,it's clawing back money by any means possible by hmrc tax credit casualties says it all!! X

gemgem1328 Sat 16-Aug-14 09:27:47

I am having the same situation as alot. I have recieved a letter saying they need to check whether i have another adult living with me. My ex partner and i split in 2012 (we also have a child together) and i rang tax credits housing and everything within the week. He has never had a permanent living address as he has been living in his caravan so all his mail still comes to my house and he has also been using my address for hospital, doctors, dentist, phone, loans and everything like that, i thought it would be ok as we are still on very good terms and we are still very good friends and i would do this for any of my friends. I pay all the bill in my house but gas and elec are prepayment so dont get letters with those. All other bills in my name, i have bank statements proving all my money comes out for shopping etc. ( i am not yet working as i am studying to become self employed). He also still comes round quite alot obviously to see his daughter, i dont allow my daughter to stay with him in the caravan as i dont think its safe enough for her. He does stay on the odd occasion but this is only once or twice a month on the couch. Im just wondering what happens from here if anyone knows please, i need to send bank statements bills etc but does anyone know what will happen after that? After reading these its looking like they are not going to believe that he is not living with me and we are not a couple. Help appreciated thanks x

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now