The standard payment for Universal Credit takes into account your relationship status and the amount that you receive as a couple may be different from your individual claims. While the purpose of this blog post is to discuss in detail the consequences of splitting up with your partner and the impact of this relationship breakdown on your Universal Credit claim, we will also explore other benefits that stand to be affected as a result of a change in your personal circumstances.

What Is Split Payment Of Universal Credit?

Split payment is the division of household Universal Credit claim between two members of the household while they continue living together as a couple. It rarely happens in cases where:

  • There is financial mismanagement and/or financial abuse on behalf of one of the partners and the other one informs DWP
  • There is domestic abuse
  • One of the partners is unable to budget for their own or the household’s needs

Even though the Universal Credit amount is split up, the partner who has the primary responsibility for children (if any) will claim a larger proportion of the payment. However, it can be claimed that both partners remain together as a couple. 

The reason for providing split payments is to reduce the financial hardship that claimants may have to endure due to any of the above-stated reasons.

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 the 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 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

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 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. 

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 a joint tenant keeps them responsible for a contribution towards the council house rent. If your landlord or ex-partner does 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.

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 a 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 discussion, we can safely conclude that the end of a relationship can significantly impact the Universal Credit claim that both individuals were making as a couple. However, payments will continue even though they may be divided between each partner. The one with the primary responsibility of children (if any) will be able to claim a higher proportion of Universal Credit payments and may also be able to qualify for additional elements to their standard claim.

FAQs: What Happens To Universal Credit If I Split Up With My Partner?

Can Universal Credit be split?

Yes, Universal Credit payments can be split between two members of the household while they continue living together as a couple. It rarely happens in cases where there is financial mismanagement and/or financial abuse on behalf of one of the partners and the other one informs DWP, there is domestic abuse or one of the partners is unable to budget for their own or the household’s needs.

Can I and my partner claim Universal Credit separately?

As long as you and your partner live together, you will have to file a joint claim for Universal Credit. However, in cases where there is financial mismanagement and/or financial abuse on behalf of one of the partners and the other one informs DWP, there is domestic abuse or one of the partners is unable to budget for their own or the household’s needs, the Universal Credit claim can be split between two members of a household.

Can you claim benefits if you are 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.

How many nights can my partner stay over on Universal Credit?

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 do you get on a joint Universal Credit claim?

If you are living with a partner and both partners are below 25, both of you can make a joint claim of a standard amount of £403.93 a month for Universal Credit. If one or both partners are 25 or older, your joint claim can be £509.91 a month.

References:

Check if a change affects your Universal Credit – Citizens Advice

Universal Credit: further information for couples – GOV.UK

Joint Universal Credit claims for couples

Alternative Payment Arrangements – GOV.UK

Separated But Living Together | Divorce-Online

A survival guide to benefits and living together | Advicenow.

Report benefits change

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

Sorting-out-benefits-after-separation

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