Can You Claim Benefits If You Live With Your Ex-Partner?

A change of marital status is sure to impact the benefits you claim as a couple. This is the reason why this blog aims to answer the question of whether you can claim benefits if you live with your ex-partner. In addition to this, we will also explore how to tell which benefits you can claim if you live with an ex-partner; as well as how to prove that you are not living with your ex-partner merely to claim benefits.

Can You Claim Benefits If You Live With Your Ex-Partner?

Yes, you can claim benefits if you live with your ex-partner. These are usually means-tested benefits for which the incomes and savings of both you and your partner will be taken into account to assess your financial situation before a claim can be approved.

However, if you were claiming joint benefits before your separation or divorce, you will now have to file an individual claim. This means that even though you may qualify for benefits, previously claimed benefits will be reconsidered by the DWP due to the change in your status and the payment that you receive will be adjusted accordingly.

On the other hand, if you are now going to be on a low income due to divorce or separation and lack of financial support from your ex-partner, you may be able to claim means-tested benefits that you were not eligible for before the end of your relationship.

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. 

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

Meanwhile, benefits that you were previously claiming and can be affected as a result of a couple splitting up include the following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

How Do You Know Which Benefits To Claim Benefits If You Live With Your Ex-Partner?

To know which benefits to claim if you live with your ex-partner, you can check the eligibility criteria for each one. Below are some guidelines that may prove to be helpful:

  • If you are going to be on a low income as a result of your separation with no financial support from your partner, you can apply for Universal Credit to pay your living and housing expenses.
  • If you and your partner were claiming joint benefits before your separation, your payments will now reduce as a result of your marital status. For instance, if you were earlier claiming Universal Credit as a couple aged under 25 years, your benefit payment will reduce from £403.93 a month to £257.33. In the case of one or both partners being older than 25, this payment will reduce from £509.91 to £324.84 a month.
  • If you are looking for work, have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions and have worked for two tax years, you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you don’t qualify for JSA, you can apply for Universal Credit instead.
  • Parents who work equal to or less than 16 hours per week or cannot work can claim Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance.
  • If you have a health condition or a disability due to which you cannot work, you can claim Employment and Support Allowance
  • You may qualify for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. If you receive these benefits for 26 weeks, you can apply for an interest-free loan for basic home expenses.
  • If you have sole responsibility for a child under the age of 16 years, you can claim Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.
  • 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.

You can visit the UK Government’s website to check the benefits and financial support that you can claim.

How Can You Prove That You Are Not Living With Your Ex-Partner To Claim Benefits?

To prove that you are not living with your ex-partner only to claim benefits, you would need to provide legal evidence of your separation or divorce to the DWP. 

Usually, 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.

According to the Department for Work and Pension (DWP), if two people are living under the following conditions, they will be considered as living together:

  • One of them is the registered owner or registered tenant of the house while the other one continues sharing the premises with them as their main residence without having a postal address of their own
  • The unregistered occupant is using your home address to be registered to vote, receive their mail, benefits claims and tax payments
  • Both occupants share a joint account

If the above conditions apply to a couple and they choose to live together only to claim more benefits, they may be held guilty of benefits fraud.


The above discussion helps us to conclude that you claim benefits if you live with your ex-partner; whether you are divorced or permanently separated. If you were claiming benefits as a couple, you may lose a higher payment being reduced to a lower one due to the nature of your claim being changed from a joint claim to a single one. However, on the plus side, you may be able to claim added benefits when you separate or divorce from a partner. 

FAQs: Can You Claim Benefits If You Live With Your Ex-Partner?

Can I claim Universal Credit if I still live with my ex-partner?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if you still live with your ex-partner. However, as compared to a previous joint claim you will need to apply for an individual one.

Does living with a partner affect Housing Benefit?

Yes, living with a partner affects your Housing benefit claim as only one of you can claim the benefit to meet housing costs. When two people share the same property both of them cannot claim Housing Benefit at the same time.a

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.

Do I have any rights to my partner’s house?

If you were in a marriage or civil partnership, both of you will have ownership rights of the house that you were living in. This will not be affected by whether or not you were contributing towards mortgage payments. Until there is a divorce settlement, both of you can continue living in the matrimonial home.

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. 


Action to take when a relationship ends

Separated But Living Together | Divorce-Online

A survival guide to benefits and living together | Advicenow.