There are certain changes in circumstances that affect your benefits claim. This is why we will explore through this article if you can claim benefits if you are married. Additionally, we will also discuss if the benefits that you were claiming as a single person will be affected by your marriage as well as review living conditions that impact your claim.

Can You Claim Benefits If You Are Married?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you are married. As a married couple or one in a civil partnership, you can claim Marriage Allowance. 

When it comes to the financial assessment for Marriage Allowance, one of you should either be out of work, a stay-at-home parent or your income should be below your Personal Allowance (usually £12,570) while your partner should be paying the basic rate of Income Tax on an income between £12,571 and £50,270.

In the case of means-tested benefits, you will need to file a joint claim for both of you as both your income and savings will count for the means test. If you were claiming benefits before marriage, you will need to inform the DWP of a change in marital status and change your claim from a single person to a joint one.

The same rule applies if you are claiming Council Tax Support for a reduction in your annual bull or Housing Benefit to meet the cost of housing.

If you’re seeking Income Support, only one of you can claim the benefit and will need to prove your eligibility. Your payments can be classified as follows:

  • If both partners are 18 years of age or older they can claim £121.05
  • If both partners are younger than 18, or one is under 18 and the other is between 18 to 24 years old, they can claim £61.05 (or £121.05 if they have children)
  • If one of the partners is under 18 and the other is 25 years or older, they can claim £77.00 (or £121.05 if they have children)

However, in the case of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, both partners will be tested for their eligibility to make a joint claim (unless specific circumstances require individual assessment and instead of a joint claim for JSA, both of you make individual claims).

If you have children and seek to claim Child Benefit, only one of you will be able to claim your child as long as you qualify and your child is 16 years of age or younger.

If you are married, you will need to file a joint claim for tax credits; although, in the case of a new claim, this will be covered under Universal Credit. You will need to declare your and your partner’s income to apply for tax credits. This includes the amount mentioned in the “total for the year” section of your P60 End of Year Certificate as well as interest gained through savings or pension or payments received through state benefits, like Jobseeker’s Allowance or Carer’s Allowance.

However, you would need to take care of the Benefit Cap that applies to you and your partner when you claim benefits together. This means that there is a certain threshold beyond which you will not be able to claim benefits. This can be categorised as follows:

  • If you are a couple who lives outside London the Benefit Cap that applies to you amounts to £1,666.67
  • If you are a couple living in London, your Benefit Cap will be £1,916.67

Can You Claim Universal Credit If You Are Married?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit as a couple if you are married. Since this benefit is replacing the six legacy benefits, most means-tested benefits and tax credits can now be claimed by applying for Universal Credit by low-income households.

You can be working full-time, part-time or even out of work (for justifiable reasons) to claim Universal Credit as there are no limits to your working hours. 

Both of you can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit payment is affected by your income. If you earn £344 a month with housing costs included in your payment or £573 a month with no housing costs included in your payment, your claim will not be affected. Once your income exceeds this amount, your benefit payment will be reduced by 55p for every £1 you earn. This is called the work allowance.

To claim Universal Credit as a married couple, you should be aware of how payments are affected by your marital status. For instance:

  • If you and your partner are under 25 years of age you can claim £416.45 a month. 
  • If you and your partner are older than 25 you will get £525.72 a month. 

These are just the basic payments. If you qualify for additional help to meet housing costs or childcare expenses, top-ups will be added to your claim.

Can You Claim Benefits If You Are Married But Not Living Together?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you are married but are not living together in the same house. A lot of times, couples choose to live separately despite being married due to their jobs and work-related commute. 

In some cases, they do so, so that they can claim means-tested benefits that they were claiming before their marriage as the incomes and savings of couples are jointly considered when assessed for a benefits claim.

For instance, if either of the spouses receives Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments or Universal Credit, the amount that they receive from the DWP each month may be reduced when both of their earnings are taken into account for a means test.

However, if you are choosing to live in separate homes due to benefits claims, you will still be obliged to inform the Department for Work and Pensions of this significant change in your circumstances.

Conclusion:

The above discussion brings us to the conclusion that there are benefits that be claimed individually despite being married, there are some that must be claimed jointly by both partners while there are some that can be claimed either individually or through a joint claim; depending on the claimants’ circumstances.

FAQs: Can You Claim Benefits If You Are Married?

Who qualifies for married couples allowance?

One can qualify for a Marriage Allowance whether you are married or in a civil partnership as long as you live with your partner.

Will getting married affect my benefits in the UK?

Yes, getting married will affect your benefits both your and your partner’s incomes and savings will be considered for a means test when you file a benefits claim.

Can I claim benefits if I live with my partner?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you live with your partner. However, the DWP will take both your income and savings into account while considering your eligibility for benefits claims.

Does living with a partner affect Universal Credit?

Yes, living with a partner affects Universal Credit as you will be required to make a joint claim under which both your income and savings will be taken into account for a means test.

Do you have to tell HMRC when you get married?

Yes, you have to tell HMRC when you get married, end a marriage due to divorce or separation or even remarry. These are changes of circumstances that must be communicated to the authorities.

References:

Marriage Allowance: How it works – GOV.UK

Joint Universal Credit claims for couples | MoneyHelper

Check how much Universal Credit you’ll get – Citizens Advice

How to claim working and child tax credits – Citizens Advice

Check if you can get Child Benefit – Citizens Advice

Income Support – how much you can get – Citizens Advice