How Long Can Someone Stay Without Affecting Benefits?
Friends, family, relatives or anyone that you invite to stay at your house can live with you without any obligations towards taxes or causing you to sacrifice your benefit claims only as long as certain conditions are met. These conditions are discussed in detail in the blog post below, along with the impact of non-dependant adults sharing your house, situations that impact your benefits claim and a list of means-tested benefits.
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.
However, it is generally when someone above the age of 18 years who are classified as a non-dependant adult, is staying with you that your Housing Benefit or Council Tax may be reduced. The reason is that the authorities expect them to contribute towards your expenses, even if you do not expect them to.
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 Benefit
|Gross Income of Cohabitant
|Less than £149
|Between £149 and £216.99
|Between £217 and £282.99
|Between £283 and £376.99
|Between £377 and £468.99
|£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:
In the case of a partnership:
- either of the partners (or both) is (are) registered as blind
- either or both of them are getting Attendance Allowance, the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, or the Armed Forces Independence Payment
In case of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support:
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
Can My Partner Stay At My Home Without Paying Council Tax?
Whether or not your partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/friend(s) need to pay council tax while staying over at your place depends on the duration and nature of their stay. If they have their own place and a council tax bill to their name, they may stay over weekends or even a few weeks at your place without affecting your council tax bill or any discounts that you are eligible for such as council tax reduction due to single occupancy.
However, should their stay be extended enough or frequent enough that your home becomes their main residence, you may lose your single-occupant discount if you were previously eligible for. If they don’t have another property to declare as their main residence or they don’t have a council tax bill to their name, you might lose your council tax discount due to their extended stay.
If your partner spends more than 6 months in a year at your place, they may consider adding your home as their main residence and applying for a second home discount on their own premises. For this, you may require to consult your respective local council offices to learn about each council’s taxation and discount schemes in this regard.
Can A Carer Stay At My House Without Affecting Benefits?
Yes, if a carer moves in with you, it will not affect your benefits. They may help with washing and cooking for the person they are caring for, taking them to doctor’s appointments or helping with regular household tasks such as managing bills and shopping.
However, to qualify as a carer, the person must fulfil the below criteria:
- aged above 16 years
- spending a minimum of 35 weekly hours in care
- having lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the past 3 years
- normally live in England, Scotland or Wales
- not be in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
- not subject to immigration control
- their post-tax weekly earnings are £128 or less
What Are Means-Tested Benefits?
Means-tested benefits are those state benefits that are calculated on the basis of someone’s income, savings and capital. This is the reason why when someone is considered to be sharing your house or you and a partner appear to live together, their income and savings are also taken into account for your benefits claim and reduce the amount that you were receiving earlier.
Means-tested benefits include the following:
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
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)
Through this blogpost, we have come to learn that while there is no impact on your benefits claims when someone stays over at your house as long as they have their own house to claim as their main residence. However, if someone does stay with you for more than three days a week on regular basis and your home starts to be considered as their home (even if it’s for a few days a week), you may be considered in a partnership and even if you don’t expect them to contribute to your household expenses, the law does. Therefore, you might be faced with a reduction in your benefits claim especially those that are means-tested.
FAQs: How Long Can Someone Stay Without Affecting Benefits?
How many nights can my partner stay without affecting benefits?
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. The error with this assumption is that it is not the number of nights that counts 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.
Can you have a partner stay over when claiming benefits?
If your partner has their own place and a council tax bill to their name, they may stay over weekends or even a few weeks at your place without affecting your benefits, council tax bill or any discounts that you are eligible for such as council tax reduction due to single occupancy.
What counts as living together?
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, you will be considered as living together. Due to this change in your circumstances, your benefits and taxes will be affected.
Will I lose Universal Credit if my boyfriend moves in?
No, you will not lose your Universal Credit payments if your boyfriend moves in with you. However, you are required to inform the Department for Work and Pensions when someone starts living with you. You may be asked to make a joint claim in such cases.
What happens if I move in with my partner?
While there is no change to property ownership if you move in with your partner but it may affect their council tax bill payments or the benefits they were claiming earlier. If they were claiming the single occupancy discount on council tax, they may lose it after you move in. In case of any benefits that either of you were claiming, the amounts will now be revised as your individual incomes and savings will now be considered as joint incomes and savings.