There are certain state benefits that increase when someone applies for them as a couple while others remain unaffected by one’s relationship status. Through this blog post, we will try to explain in detail whether or not someone can claim benefits if they are separated from their partner but continue to live together. Additionally, we will also discuss different areas of relationship status that affect one’s benefits and expenses. 

Can I Claim Benefits When Separated But Living Together?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you and your partner choose to separate as a couple but continue living together. However, if you were claiming benefits as a couple, they may be reduced to single person claims. On the other hand, being separated may make you and your partner eligible for certain other benefits that you were unable to claim before.

If you and your partner were jointly claiming benefits as a couple, it is advisable for you to inform Job Centre and HMRC of the change in your relationship status as you may no longer qualify for the same amount. Alternatively, you may now be able to claim certain other state benefits due to your single status.

If there are children involved, the parent with the main care responsibility of the children will be eligible for a Working Tax Credit if they work 16 hours a week.

While it is common for couples who separate to continue living together for a while; either due to financial constraints that make joint living affordable or for the benefit of their children. In either case, they will need to provide evidence of being separated while living together in case the authorities visit their house for confirmation regarding their claim.

If the property that you are living under is under joint ownership, you may need to make a decision regarding sole ownership. Alternatively, if it is in the name of you, while the other partner has also contributed to its payment, you may need legal and financial counsel on the matter.

If you and your partner decide to confirm your separation (and are not considering it as a trial period), it is advisable to inform the following of your relationship status:

If you and your partner are separating, you may need to inform your:

  • landlord or housing office
  • housing benefit office
  • council tax office
  • mortgage lender
  • gas, electricity and telephone companies
  • benefits office
  • tax office
  • your children’s school (if any)
  • bank; in case you have a joint account
  • credit companies
  • insurance companies; if you have joint policies

Can I Remove Ex-Partner From Council Tenancy Agreement?

Yes, you can remove your ex-partner from your council tenancy agreement; however, the way that you may need to go about depends on your circumstances and relationship status.

Firstly, if you are both listed as joint tenants, you will need an agreement from your ex-partner and landlord for removal from the tenancy agreement. In this case, if your ex-partner fails to comply, they must be informed that being listed as joint tenant keeps them responsible for a contribution towards the council house rent. If your landlord or ex-partner do not agree to a tenancy transfer or your tenancy agreement prohibits it, you can file an application in court.

However, if you are listed as the tenant and they are listed as an occupant, you can simply inform your council office or housing association of the change and ask them to draw up a fresh tenancy agreement.

If your partner is listed as the tenant and you as the occupant and is the one to move out of council premises, you can request your council authorities to change the name on the tenancy agreement. If your ex-partner is not willing to assign the tenancy to you or your landlord fails to support your claim, you can file an appeal in court.

How Long Can Someone Stay Without Affecting Benefits?

Whether it is a partner, friend or family member; anyone can stay at your house without affecting benefits as long as your place of residence is not their main residence. This means that they may choose to stay with you for a few days or sleepover in the night or stay over if they are taking care of you for any reason; however, they must have evidence to prove that they have a permanent residence of their own where they are responsible for paying rent, council tax and monthly utility bills.

There has been a general assumption that someone staying over at your place for two to three nights per week will not affect your benefits or in the case of a relationship, you will not be considered as a partner. The error with this assumption is that it is not the number of days (or nights) that count towards classifying two people as living together and consequently affecting their benefits, it is the evidential proof of whether someone is considering your home as their own when they stay in your house. 

If someone regularly stays at your place for a few nights each week, doesn’t have a permanent residence of their own or their bills are addressed to your home, they will be considered as living with you and due to this change in your circumstances, your benefits will be affected.

If your former partner continues living with you despite separation, you may have to sacrifice certain benefits that you were claiming together as a couple.

How Much Is A Non-Dependant Deduction From Housing Benefit

Depending on the gross income (this is the sum of their incomes from varied sources before any deductions or tax payments) of the non-dependent adult who is living with you, there will be a reduction in the amount of Housing Benefit that you are currently receiving. The reason for this is that your cohabitant is expected to contribute to your household expenses through their income and savings.

A detailed breakdown of cohabitants’ income bracket and their impact on your Housing Benefit is given below:

Weekly Deduction: Housing BenefitGross Income of Cohabitant
£15.95Less than £149
£36.65Between £149 and £216.99
£50.30Between £217 and £282.99
£82.30Between £283 and £376.99
£93.70Between £377 and £468.99
£102.85£469 or more

Are There Any Exceptions To Non-Dependent Deductions From Benefits?

Yes, there are certain situations under which despite having a non-dependent adult living with you for an indefinite period of time, no deductions will be made from the benefits you currently claim. These are classified below on the basis of different situations:

For instance, there will be no deduction from either of the state benefits if the non-dependant person living with you is:

  • below the age of 18 years
  • below the age of 25 years and on Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • currently on a work-based training for young people and receiving a training allowance
  • a full-time student or student nurse;
  • recently released from hospital after a period of more than 52 weeks
  • in legal custody
  • a homeowner or renter of a property 
  • currently on Pension Credit 
  • a student working during the summer
  • mentally disabled

What Is A Single Person Discount?

If you live alone or are the only adult in the household, you are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on your council tax bills (irrespective of your income or savings). This is a single person discount on council tax. To avail of this discount, you must inform your local council office of your circumstances and  apply for Council Tax Reduction so that your bills may be adjusted appropriately.

If your former partner continues sharing premises with your despite the end of your relationship, you may be eligible for a full council tax. However, if only one of your continues living on the premises, you may be able to claim a single person discount on your council tax and reduce your expenses. 

What Changes Need To Be Reported For Benefits Claim?

Claimants need to inform the local council authorities in case of any of the below listed circumstantial changes to their conditions as they will bear direct impact on their benefits claim:

  • one’s name or gender
  • finding a new job or ending a previous one
  • different working hours
  • increase or decrease in income
  • an increase or decrease in pension, savings, investments or property
  • salary arrears (this applies to you and your partner)
  • beginning or ending an educational degree, training or apprenticeship
  • home address
  • extended stay out of the UK
  • number of people in the household 
  • marital status
  • physical and mental health conditions
  • extended hospital stay or moving into a care home
  • starting or stopping caring for someone
  • change of medical adviser 
  • increase or decrease in benefits you or anyone else in your household receives
  • your immigration status (in case you are not a British citizen)

Conclusion:

Through this article, we have learnt that one may be able to claim certain benefits when they separate as a couple but continue to live under the same property. However, this change in relationship status must be permanent and must be shared with relevant authorities. Some benefits decrease as a result of someone being separated from their partner while others may increase; depending on their situation.

FAQs: Can I Claim Benefits When Separated But Living Together?

How do you deal with separation while living in the same house?

You can draw up a formal and legal separation agreement especially when there is property and children involved in the situation. If the separation has been amicable, you can establish your house rules and continue to abide by them until it is convenient for one of the parties to move out as this may not be a permanent solution.

Can you be separated but still live together?

Legally, there is nothing wrong with living together with a partner after being separated as it is common for former couples to do so for financial reasons or in situations where children are involved.

What benefits can I claim when separated?

Separation from your partner will have the greatest impact on your income. As a result of this, you will be able to claim the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit

Who leaves the house in a separation?

While there is no legal obligation on either party to leave the house in case of separation; especially in the case of a jointly owned property. However, in the case of sole property, it may be advisable for one of the partners to eventually move out of the premises. 

How do you prove separation?

A legal separation agreement is proof of separation between partners. If you don’t have one, a change in residential address or separate tax returns may also serve as proof of separation.

References:

Action to take when a relationship ends

Separated But Living Together | Divorce-Online

A survival guide to benefits and living together | Advicenow.

Housing benefit deductions when living with non-dependants – Shelter England

Report benefits change

Covid drove us to share a home but what are council tax implications?

Benefits and help with council tax when you separate – Citizens Advice

Sorting-out-benefits-after-separation

What happens to your home when you separate – Citizens Advice

Joint tenancy and relationship breakdown

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