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Tax credits - does it make a difference if my partner is oficially living with me or not?

(8 Posts)
lowrib Mon 27-Jul-09 12:19:22

Over the summer my DP is working away from home, so that he can care for his mother as she recovers from a major operation. He'll probably be there for 3 or 4 months in total.

I'm (finally) getting round to claiming tax credits. It's possible we may also need to claim other benefits later in the year.

Having found out in the past from bitter experience that if you say the 'wrong' thing to officials it can make things very difficult, I want to be clear whether there are any pitfalls to avoid before I claim - it will be obvious that we are officially living apart from his work address (it's not commutable).

Will it make a difference to them if we are living together or not? We are together as a couple, but this summer is exceptional.

Although in fact I am actually spending time with my DO at my MILs I'm very reluctant to make MILs my actual address as I expect it will cause all sorts of confusion, so simpler to keep my flat as my permanent address IYSWIM?

Does anyone know how this might affect any claim?

Should I simply state we both live at our permanent address, and let them query the work address if they want to later?

Or should I state that we are living apart for the moment?

Or should I state that we are both away over the summer?

Does anyone know if any of these options have implications - positive or negative?

TIA smile

juicyjolly Mon 27-Jul-09 23:34:14

Why dont you just tell them the truth?

norksinmywaistband Mon 27-Jul-09 23:40:05

As I understand it if he is living with his mother and will have no further outlay, then he is still financing the home and you are a couple then you have to claim as a couple, only single parent claim if that is what you are with no other income but yourself into the home

KingCanuteIAm Mon 27-Jul-09 23:42:26

Is your income combined, do you live financially as a couple?

If you do then they need to know, if your finances are totally seperate and you are independant then I would say you are "boyfriend and girlfriend" as it were and so it is not relevant.

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 28-Jul-09 19:51:10

You need to claim as a couple the same as those apart in the armed forces etc do.

lowrib Fri 31-Jul-09 16:53:11

juicyjolly I'm guessing you've never been in the unfortunate position of finding yourself at the mercy of over-zealous jobsworths or bureaucracy gone wrong! It's not fun, I tell you!

I have no problem with telling the truth. The problems are:

1. If I'm ambiguous about where we live I'm worried it'll get us in a mess. On forms they usually ask you to each state your address. There isn't usually a box for 'I'm not quite sure which I should put as my official address'!

2. I want to make sure I avoid any pitfalls along the lines of 'you're not living together so we can't treat you as a couple'. Also I want to keep my official address as my permanent one as that's where we normally live. Our finances are together - the living apart is only a temporary thing while my MIL recovers from surgery.

You can get in an awful muddle when talking to government agencies if you say the wrong thing to a jobsworth. For example imagine you were a lone parent, who had just met a guy and you're having a bit of a whirlwind romance. While applying for a benefit, they ask you how often your BF stays over. You are honest and say he's been there 4 days in the last week.

Now if you're a bit naive and the gvt employee is an automaton, then before you know it they'll be demanding for all sorts of information about your new BF's finances and saying you're not entitled to any help as you've just ticked a box which effectively states you have a live in partner.

In the same scenario, if you came up against an experienced and human gvt employee, they might ask you how long you have been seeing him (answer 1 week) and they can see this is patently not a live-in BF. They caution you that if he continues to stay over all the time, you will need to declare it, and they process your claim.

In a third version you simply don't tell them about your sex life as you're aware it is a red herring which could tie you all in knots. Much easier!

Do you see?

KingCanuteIAm Fri 31-Jul-09 17:00:58

You have answered your own question "Our finances are together - the living apart is only a temporary thing while my MIL recovers from surgery."

Therefore you are a couple, living together, end of.

They will not ask his work address as that is not important to them. If he is registered for council tax at your permanent address (as are you) then that is all that will matter to them. You cannot claim as single whilst he is not there because you are not single you are temporarily divided my circumstances. Tax credit will not pay extra to cover that.

lowrib Fri 31-Jul-09 17:12:41

Thanks for your responses everyone.

I've looked at the Tax Credits site, and to give them credit it turns out that they recognise that some couples sometimes live apart (e.g. for work reasons) and there is clear advice about claiming as a couple, so I'm happy now smile.

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