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Possible to apply for benefits without partner's approval?

(8 Posts)
PrimsGoat Thu 13-Aug-15 13:00:52

I'm posting this for a friend. She's in a crappy relationship and is thinking about leaving her partner but for the moment they are still together. They have an 8 year old child. They are currently in the process of selling a flat they've been letting, so should have some money soon, but right now they are barely scraping by. The partner is doing some rather dodgy things to earn money undeclared but I don't think he 'earns' very much. My friend lost her job recently. The partner however refuses to apply for any benefits! He thinks it's beneath him.

Friend tells me she wants to apply for housing benefit and whatever else she can get, by herself. I've told her to be careful, as I think it may be fraud if she declares herself a single parent. Am I wrong? Can she write on the form that she has a partner who refuses to sign or provide details of income?

PausingFlatly Thu 13-Aug-15 13:17:45

Bumping this for you, because the combination of owning a rental flat and being about to leave someone, means your friend needs quite specialist information.

If your friend lost her job recently, has she paid enough National Insurance to claim contribution-based Job Seeker's Allowance? It's non-means-tested for the first n months.

I'm pretty sure she won't be eligible for Housing Benefit because it is means-tested and owning the rental property should take her over the capital threshold. It's possible there are some child-related benefits that are to do with earnings, not capital, but even then she will have problems wrt partner's dodgy earnings.

And I think your friend needs to sit down with Woman's Aid or Citizen's Advice and go through her financial options carefully. Unless one of the lovely and very well-informed MN experts can help.

gallicgirl Thu 13-Aug-15 13:22:14

re; the flat. If it's let then I think rental income is taken into account. If its empty then value of equity will be taken into account as capital.

re; partner, it sounds as though they are still in a relationship and therefore classed as living together. He will need to be declared on benefit application and his income will be taken into account. If he refuses to provide it then its likely the claim will be refused.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 13:27:29

Do they co-own the flat? Or is it in his name (or her name) only? They're not married, correct?

I think she should speak to CAB - certainly claiming to be a single parent when she isn't would be a very bad idea. However, actually being a single parent might not, given her partner is clearly unreasonable.

PrimsGoat Thu 13-Aug-15 14:28:05

They do co-own the flat, and they are not married. She was unemployed for quite a while before she found her last job, and that only lasted a few months. I think they might have been eligible for a crisis loan in the past but not sure these exist anymore... Hopefully the sale will go through but they will still be without money until then. Friend is considering asking for a bank loan in the meantime. But if the sale falls through she won't be able to keep up the repayments!

Her partner is truly an ass. Point blank refuses to apply for any benefits (or a real job for that matter) and it seems like he doesn't think it's his problem that they cannot pay their rent / feed themselves or their child. I don't know what the hell he is playing at.

Can she go to women's aid if he's not physically abusive?

gallicgirl Thu 13-Aug-15 15:21:15

So they rent the place they currently live in and also co-own a property which is let to tenants?

How are they paying the mortgage on that flat because it's at risk of repossession if they don't keep up payments.

Shelter might be helpful and Women's Aid might help as he's being financially abusive to some extent.

How soon will they get money form sale of the flat because any benefit claim could well take several weeks to process, particularly if the partner isn't forthcoming with his income.

How about claiming tax credits? That's calculated on the last year's income so hopefully they will have P60s or tax returns to prove income

PrimsGoat Thu 13-Aug-15 16:02:30

Gallic, yes you have it right. I think the tenants have basically been covering the mortgage. She thinks the sale will take about 6 weeks to complete, but I don't know where she got that figure from.

I think she really needs to see someone with expertise but I'm not sure who. Maybe Citizens Advice, but they've been all but dismantled in recent years as far as I understand it.

Would anyone be able to advise her if she just went to the Civic offices where she lives?

gallicgirl Thu 13-Aug-15 16:57:02

Of course but only in relation to housing benefit. They might be able to signpost her to other agencies too.

The quality of advice might vary according to how well trained the staff are and the restrictions of the local HB scheme. Your friend's circumstances are quite unusual so the advisor may need to refer to a processing officer for assistance.

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