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Separation and Benefits

(10 Posts)
mjmo0oseface Tue 19-Jan-16 11:25:49

Not sure if this is the right/best place to post this but hoping for some advice, please!

Dh and I have made the decision to split. I won't go into the reasons but we both agreed it was the right thing to do. We have been married for just over 4 years and have a 3 year old son. It is an amicable split and whilst DS will live with me, he will spend weekends and a day in the week with his dad, as well as any other time Dh wants to see him. Dh is nearly 29, I am nearly 24.

We rent a council flat and receive some housing benefit. Dh works 24 hours a week on minimum wage. We get child benefit, child tax credits and working tax credits including help with childcare.

I am studying and on placement to get a qualification that will lead to a job. I am also carer of my DS who has autism and receives the hight rates of DLA.I have started looking for paid jobs now, too.

Dh also has his own mental health issues and has applied for PIP but is waiting for a decision back on that.

Will he be able to stay in the 2 bedroom flat and be entitled to housing benefit? Will he have to pay the bedroom tax or not as he has regular access to his son who will be staying over half the week?

What happens with tax credits when you split?

Will I get housing benefit if I am under 25?

Because of Dh's mental health, I have promised to help sort out all of his finances and benefits etc because he cannot do it himself or fill out the forms. I know it will be best to speak to the council etc and I will do but was hoping for some advice to see how we will both fare financially on splitting.

Thanks for reading!

LaPharisienne Tue 19-Jan-16 11:27:27

I would head to your local law centre - they should be able to answer all of these questions and give you a bit of help with next steps and forms of required.

Hamiltoes Tue 19-Jan-16 14:35:27

Regarding Tax Credits you will both need to make a single claim each. I don't think your DH will be entitled to any as I'm sure the minimum for a single adult is 30hr per week. Only one of you can claim child tax credits (and it will be the one who he is resident with and who claims all other benefits inc. housing in the childs name).

Regarding bedroom tax, DH having DS at the weekends etc would not be enough to get the two bedroom rate. Your son would have to be resident with him for this to happen and then you wouldn't qualify for HB as you are under 25 and wouldn't be responsible for a child. Only those with children to house can claim.

Is there any way you and your son can stay in the flat (which you'd recieve HB for) and DH moves into a flat share elsewhere which he can afford on his wages? Being awareded PIP may put him higher on the list for council housing but as a single young male I think his chances in most councils would be very slim.

Don't take anything I say as gospel, I've just read up quite a bit in the past on behalf of a relative but these rules and entitlements change all the time so it may be worth speaking to an advisor of sorts, maybe try CAB.

Akire Tue 19-Jan-16 14:46:43

I do think you may have problems proving you are living apart while at the same address. It may be better to wait until he actual leaves or put in a claim saying he will be moving out on X date.
He will be able to claim housing benefit but at only a room rate as under 35. It probable is going to be difficult if he is relaying on housing benefit top up to rent a private room as people can be funny. So if you can save up anything in the mean time to help with deposits etc that will help.

As he is only entitled to the single room rate it's probable going be very difficult for him to have a child over especially one with a disability when you having to share bathrooms and kitchens. Try and speak to your housing association and get him put on housing list. If his PIP comes through may help
Him with points. Ditto also once he gets PIP he may find he can work less hours than full time single tax credit claimant because his illness means he can work less hours without job centre etc pushing him. But again all takes time to get all the assessments done.

Probable at the moment I would keep claiming as a couple, try and save get him on housing list and wait for PIP to hopefully kick in. He should get back payment if he's success which may help with new rent costs.

ironfury Tue 19-Jan-16 18:49:19

If your DH manages to get an award of PIP, it will change quite a few things, so it's worth hanging on for the outcome of his application (although it can take a while). For example, if he gets the daily living component of PIP then he won't be restricted to the shared accommodation rate for under 35s, so he'd be able to rent privately on his own (but only a 1 bed flat). He would also be able to get disability element of working tax credits as long as he works over 16 hours.

The bedroom tax for cases of shared care is a bit of a grey area; some tribunal cases have been won by fathers who have their children overnight, but most councils will probably apply it until forced by a tribunal.

You might be able to claim income support, as your DS is under 5, although if you get a grant/loan for study then that will be taken into account as income. If you do get any student finance, you should let them know as I think you might be able to get reassessed. If your study is not full time, you could claim carers allowance.

As there are complexities with disability/carer benefits in your case, it's best to consult one of the advice services specialising in disabilities/carers, as there are differences to the usual benefit rules. Try the Contact a Family helpline, Carers UK or the NAS autism. If you are at university or college, then your student services should be able to provide advice on how benefits interact with student finances.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 21-Jan-16 14:55:39

As your ds receives dla you can claim IS as long as the dla is on place, his age is irrelevant.
Yes you will be entitled to HB again your age is irrelevant as you have a dependant. You should stay in the flat yourself with your ds.
Your dh will be subject to bedroom tax.

ironfury Thu 21-Jan-16 21:47:19

Carers can usually only claim IS when getting carers allowance though, and OP won't be entitled to that if she is a f/t student. But she'd certainly be entitled while her DS is under 5 (providing any student finance doesn't take her over the income threshold), and it sounds like she would finish the course and start work before her IS entitlement stops due to his age.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 21-Jan-16 22:19:00

No there is no requirement to claim
Carers allowance to receive IS. You just have to be caring for someone in receipt of dla/pip.
But yes her student finances could take her over the limit for IS.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 21-Jan-16 22:20:54

Sorry forgot to mention it must be care/daily living elements at middle/ high rate.
You are eligible to claim Income Support as a carer if any of the following apply:

You are looking after your partner or a child or qualifying young person who is 'temporarily ill' and for whom you are responsible.
You are regularly and substantially engage in caring for another person and either you are getting carers allowance, or the person you are caring for gets Attendance Allowance (AA) or constant attendance allowance, or the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance (DLA) care component or Personal Independance Payments (PIP) Daily Living Component at either Standard or enhanced rate.

mjmo0oseface Sun 24-Jan-16 18:35:48

Thank you all for your posts!

Just to clarify, I'm on an adult learning course. It's just 3 hours a week plus 3 hours coursework a week and a minimum of 6 hours on placement a week but I am doing 10 hours atm so I don't have any student finance or anything like that.

Dh's PIP assessment came through 1 week after DWP getting his claim for two weeks later so very quick process.

I know it would be better if ds and I could stay here but it is an upstairs flat and it's just not suitable anymore for ds. We need something on the ground floor ideally, or a house. Thinking of renting privately if council can help with that at all to speed things up. Also, because of dh's mental health problems, I've told him I'd rather he stayed in the flat as moving as well as the split would be too overwhelming for him.

We were planning on waiting to be living separately before changing claims for benefits so proving we weren't living together as a couple wasn't an issue.

Thought I had everything worked out 'til I learned Universal Credit rolls out in our area tomorrow!!! Sighs.

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