Benefits after partner leaves


I'm looking for some advice for my sister.
She has a 6 month old son and left her ex a few months ago.

He was abusive and the break up wasn't exactly amicable.
The police have been involved on multiple occasions.
Her application for housing and council tax benefit has been denied because he refuses to verify that they no longer live together.
She gets £80 a week to pay for everything.

She's tried to speak to the council and her housing officer and they've just told her it's not their problem and she needs to get proof that he no longer lives there.

Is there anyone else she can talk to?


  • merlin68
    merlin68 Posts: 2,405 Forumite
    Has she claimed income support, she also needs to change the tax credits into a single claim.
  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    I don't understand this.

    If she left her partner where is she staying now?

    Or do you mean that he left and is still named on the tenancy agreement?
  • BigAunty
    BigAunty Posts: 8,310 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Womens Aid provide support to women in abusive relationships and they may also provide benefit advice to women. Shelter (housing advice charity) also have a section on their website about relationship breakdown and domestic abuse, the rights and options for those involved, depending on the type/ tenure of their accommodation.

    Another potential way to escalate it is for her to contact her MP - they are there to serve her. I don't know what the MP can do but it can at least highlight to them how benefits policy and domestic abuse policy is out of synch.

    There is a poster on this forum called 'Housing Benefit Officer' who works in this field will hopefully pop up and give their usual sound advice, too.

    If she does have a joint tenancy agreement (private or social housing), then her ex will always have the right to return to the property and live there while his name is on the contract unless she has a court order that stipulates otherwise.

    She should seek advice on how to remove him from the tenancy or get an occupation order that gives her just the right to reside there and which bans him from entering it. Womens Aid and Shelter will have more info on how she can stay safe and protect herself.
  • spike241
    spike241 Posts: 371 Forumite
    edited 10 August 2015 at 12:02PM
    Sorry, I phrased it badly. She kicked him out so is living in the original property. She has taken out a harassment order so he cannot return to the property (although he did at 5am one time so the locks have been changed).

    I don't know if she has claimed income support. I would have thought so but I've just text asking.

    Thank you for the info, I'll pass that along to her now.

    ETA: She got a letter saying she wasn't entitled to income support.
  • bloolagoon
    bloolagoon Posts: 7,973 Forumite
    I take it she in on maternity leave
    Tomorrow is the most important thing in life
  • clearingout
    clearingout Posts: 3,290 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    is she on maternity leave and receiving some kind of maternity pay? That might explain the Income Support decision if so.

    I would go straight to your MP - this is a disaster waiting to happen for many women in this situation. When my ex walked out over 7 years ago, I was able to just phone round and say 'I'm single' and all the benefits and tax credits kicked in without question. It is very worrying that by tightening the system, women and children are going to end up going without.

    One thought - has she consulted a solicitor at all? A letter from a solicitor to her ex might be enough to convince the authorities that the relationship has ended. Equally, a letter from the solicitor headed 'to whom it may concern' stating Miss X has consulted and instructed me in relation to her relationship breakdown and as of X date, is living alone at Y address' might be useful?
  • spike241
    spike241 Posts: 371 Forumite
    She doesn't get any maternity pay.
    She lost her apprenticeship when she started having seizures (I think, we weren't particularly close at this time). As far as I'm aware that's not an issue any more but she was on JSA before her son was born and her ex was working.

    I've told her to speak to her MP.
    That was my thought, I'm sure a lot of people have a vindictive ex that would ignore these letters. If they want proof that he doesn't live there then they just need to visit her.

    She hasn't consulted a solicitor but if the MP can't help then she may have to.
  • xylophone
    xylophone Posts: 44,593 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    She has taken out a harassment order so he cannot return to the property
    Her application for housing and council tax benefit has been denied because he refuses to verify that they no longer live together.

    The council are aware of the order?
  • spike241
    spike241 Posts: 371 Forumite
    xylophone wrote: »
    The council are aware of the order?

    I'm not sure actually, I'm checking now.
    What reason was given for not being entitled to income support?

    Apparently they didn't give a reason, just said she was entitled to -£14.57
  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,558 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    has she closed down the joint tax credits claim and made a single one?
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