Can You Claim Benefits If You Live On A Boat?
To claim benefits one would need to meet pre-set eligibility criteria and declare their personal information; including details of their income and savings. To learn more about claiming benefits if you live on a boat, we will explore the content of this blog post. Additionally, we will also discuss what benefits one can claim in such circumstances and how to apply for them.
Can You Claim Benefits If You Live On A Boat?
Yes, you can claim certain benefits if you live on a boat.
Individuals who choose to live on a boat due to low income or savings are eligible for Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. Since Universal Credit is replacing the six legacy benefits including Housing Benefit, you may not be able to file a new claim for Housing Benefit and will have to apply for the housing element of Universal Credit.
However, to claim benefits you must make sure that the boat is your permanent address. You will also need to provide the following information to the DWP when you apply for benefits:
- boat name
- pontoon number
- marina address
In addition to this, you will need to prove your eligibility for benefits by clearing the means test and providing the required evidence to support your claim.
Payments received through benefits can help to cover the following costs for someone living on a boat:
- boat licence
- boat safety certificate
- third-party insurance
- mooring fees
- a continuous cruiser licence
- rent if they do not own their boat
If the reason for living on a boat is to reduce one’s expenses, it is essential to note that certain expenses are mandatory for individuals aiming to use a boat. These include a boat license to use the waterways. This usually costs between £500 to £1000 per year.
Additionally, there is a mooring fee that is incurred by boat dwellers to rent a moor for your boat when it is not on a cruise.
Can You Get Council Tax Discount If You Live On A Boat?
Yes, you can get a council tax discount if you live on a boat; as long as you meet any of the following conditions:
- You will be eligible for a 25% reduction in your council tax bill if you are the only adult living on the boat; whether you live alone or you are the sole adult sharing the premises with one or more individuals who are younger than the age of 18 years.
- A 50 per cent council tax benefit becomes applicable if all the residents of the household are under 18 years of age.
- Complete exemption or a 100 per cent discount is applicable if all the residents of the said premises are full-time students.
- Individuals with a low income or those receiving other forms of public support may qualify for a 100 per cent discount on their council tax bills, depending on their circumstances. To apply for this exemption, claimants can be unemployed or working.
Although the council tax rate in such situations is decided by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in the same manner as they would assess the value of a house and assign a council tax band, boats that serve as permanent residence are usually assigned Band A for council tax purposes. This means that the occupant will be paying the minimum amount of council tax if they live on a boat.
Some residential moorings include council tax bills in the marina costs. In such cases, boat dwellers will not have to pay council tax separately.
While you don’t pay council tax for a boat that serves as your residence, the council tax is due for mooring. This means that if the boat remains on a cruise, there is no council tax due on it; however, if it serves as a permanent residence for the occupier and they need it to be moored,
Can Savings Affect Your Benefit Claim If You Live On A Boat?
Yes, your savings (and income) affect your benefit claim. You can have a maximum amount of £16,000 in savings If you intend to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for living on a boat due to low income. Having more than £6,000 in savings starts affecting your benefit claim.
In case your savings are less than £16,000 but more than £6,000 your benefit payment will increase as your savings decrease. This means that for every pound above £6,000, your benefit payment will decrease.
On the other hand, individuals who have savings of less than £6,000 can claim the full amount of Housing Benefit.
Meanwhile, if your savings exceed £16,000, you will not be able to claim the benefit at all.
If the DWP find evidence that an individual has deliberately reduced their capital so that they can be eligible for state benefits such as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, the government will consider it as notional capital.
How Do You Claim Universal Credit If You Live On A Boat?
You can claim Universal Credit by applying online. If you are not able to do so because of living on a boat, you can call the Universal Credit helpline at 0800 328 5644.
You will need to provide information regarding the following when you apply for Universal Credit:
- your bank, building society or credit union account details
- an email address
- a phone number
If you are unable to do so, you can contact your nearest Job Centre to apply.
You will be asked to prove your identity for the claim. For this, you will need to provide copies of the following:
- driving licence
- debit or credit card
- payslip or P60
In addition to this, you will also need to provide details of your (and your partner’s, if there is one) income and savings.
Once your claim is approved, it usually takes 5 weeks for the first Universal Credit payment to come through.
The above discussion helps to conclude that if someone is living on a boat; whether temporarily or permanently, they can still claim benefits as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
FAQs: Can You Claim Benefits If You Live On A Boat?
Can I get Universal Credit living in a boat?
Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if you live in a boat. This will help you pay mooring fees, a continuous cruiser licence and rent in case you don’t own a boat.
Can you legally live on a boat in the UK?
Yes, you can legally live on a boat in the UK as long as you pay for a mooring license to use the waterways. This usually costs between £500 to £1000 per year. Additionally, there is a mooring fee that is incurred by boat dwellers to rent a moor for your boat when it is not on a cruise.
Where can I moor my boat for free in the UK?
Visitor moorings on canals and rivers that are governed by the Canal and River Trust are often free of charge. In this case, you are permitted to moor nearly anywhere as long as there is no obstruction caused to waterways.
How much does it cost to live on a boat in the UK?
It can cost you between £3,000 to £18,000 per year to live on a boat in the UK. The expenses of living on a boat vary with the size of the boat and your location.
Can a boat be considered a primary residence?
Yes, if you are permanently living on a boat with no other residence, it will be considered a primary residence.