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when is a partner a partner - compliance checks

(1 Post)
jannyson Wed 22-Jun-11 13:41:37


Dilemma - for some years I have been a single parent to 2 children aged 7 and 9. I work part time (£19000 income after tax) and rely on child tax credits to do this and pay my childcare costs of c.£6900 per year. I don't get WTC.

Two years ago I met a very nice man - we had talked since Xmas last year about the possibility of taking our relationship to the next stage and moving in together. This would be a big step as we are both protective of our own space and I am obviously protective of my children, particularly regarding my difficult former relationship.

The solution, we decided, was to dip our toes in the water. I decided in May to rent a larger house, both so that we could spend more time together and as the children are getting older and need more space anyway. As this was partly to facilitate the development of our relationship my boyfriend decided it would be fair to contribute to the household costs. I pay all the rent and gas, and obviously all food, as always. However, he pays £50 per month into my bank account to help with the larger rent bill; the electric is in his name, and also phone/sky/broadband together with TV licence - I never had these before but he thought it would be nice for the kids, so in a way that’s a gift. Again, those are in his name and registered to my house.

I have recently received a TC compliance letter asking for bank statements, presumably due to my change of address. I am very concerned that the fact that my boyfriend is making these contributions (for reasons that we think are sensible) will be taken as evidence that we are 'partners' in terms of having a joint household - although this is NOT the case.

Since I wasn't thinking in terms of moving in with him full time I didn't do any checks regarding income changes - I've just done these and realized that ALL my entitlements would go, including childcare allowance that allows me to work for my own living. I honestly think it's absolutely unjustifiable, having read some of the other threads on this subject, that just because I happen to have met and formed a loving relationship with someone (and both of us have been through the mill in this respect ), that they would then become liable for MY childcare. Even if he could afford it that would force me to become financially dependent on someone in a way that I find very worrying.

That I should have checked all these details is a point well taken thanks. If I had been intending to defraud the state I would have done this a lot more carefully. I have never committed fraud, have never been in debt, and have always tried to pay my own way in life.

My questions then:

1. What will constitute ‘fraud’ and have I committed it? If they suspect fraud what will they do? Call the utilities / tv licence to find out names associated with the address? Spy on us? Ask both sets of neighbours for information? How could I prove we are not fully living together?

2. What constitutes a ‘partner’? My boyfriend stays over with me about 4 nights in the week, but our households are still separate.

To anticipate your questions I’ve transferred the electric back to me, but will be charged £120 to transfer the phone etc, so would rather leave it. The children’s father pays a small amount of maintenance a week which amounts to about 30% of childcare costs – this helps with general child related outgoings.

At the moment I’ve very unhappy about all of this because I believe there is a genuine moral dilemma here. What’s the solution?

Please understand that if I had to do without childcare I would make every effort to do so. But I absolutely think it is wrong for me to rely on this man for financial support and it seems from where I’m standing that we can’t develop our relationship further.

Sorry to be so long winded but it’s complicated!

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Old Yeller…

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