Disabled Person on UC and Cohabiting

edited 17 July 2020 at 9:45PM in Disability money matters
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RobinHillRobinHill Forumite
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edited 17 July 2020 at 9:45PM in Disability money matters
Due to a degenerative neurological condition I receive UC + LCWRA in addition to DLA.
I am in a new relationship that is going well. However should we move in together my partner's earnings will mean that I will lose my UC entitlement. 
It would not be appropriate at this stage of our relationship, if in fact at all, to be financially dependent on my partner.
I accept that the UC should reduce as per cost efficiencies such as heating etc, but fail to comprehend why it should not follow a similar reduction to as how it would if it were two UC claimants deciding to cohabitate.
Due to my health / disability I am stuck in this position without any recourse. To lose my financial independence seems discriminatory to a disabled person and their ability to have financial independence and develop a relationship. 
I would be grateful for opinion / comment. Thank you.
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  • edited 17 July 2020 at 11:33PM
    Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    edited 17 July 2020 at 11:33PM
    RobinHill said:
    Due to a degenerative neurological condition I receive UC + LCWRA in addition to DLA.
    I am in a new relationship that is going well. However should we move in together my partner's earnings will mean that I will lose my UC entitlement. 
    It would not be appropriate at this stage of our relationship, if in fact at all, to be financially dependent on my partner.
    I accept that the UC should reduce as per cost efficiencies such as heating etc, but fail to comprehend why it should not follow a similar reduction to as how it would if it were two UC claimants deciding to cohabitate.
    Due to my health / disability I am stuck in this position without any recourse. To lose my financial independence seems discriminatory to a disabled person and their ability to have financial independence and develop a relationship. 
    I would be grateful for opinion / comment. Thank you.
    I don't understand. If two non-disabled UC claimants move in together, they lose one person's housing costs element and the joint standard allowance is less than £200 more than the single allowance. 
    If one or both of those claimants were in low-paid work, the total income would be accounted for and the UC payment adjusted accordingly. If one of them started to earn too much to have any UC payable after deductions, they would no longer be eligible for UC just the same.

    Disabled claimants have a sort of cushion of protection with the LCWRA element, which both allows the earnings to be more before no UC is payable (£500+ extra), and gives the claim a work allowance (£292 if housing costs) so actually allows an extra ~£800 to be earned on top of what a couple without LCWRA or children could earn before their claim is reduced to 0.

    Edit: I'm not saying the entire system is fair, but I simply can't see that it's disproportionately unfair to a disabled person on UC wishing to move in with someone. 
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    UC is far from perfect, never will be. However, if you were claiming the legacy benefit (ESA Income Related) UC LCWRA replaced this then you wouldn't have been entitled to anything at all. UC does have a work allowance, which is rather generous. Unfortunately, if you live with a partner that works they are meant to support you. Means tested benefits have to have a cut off point where those that are working, or live with a partner that works claiming these benefits does depend on income, the more income you receive the less likely you are to receive help from the benefit system.
    I certainly don't see it as discrimination (yes i have a disability myself)
    Thankfully you're claiming DLA which isn't means tesed so if you do move in with your partner then this won't be affected.
  • edited 18 July 2020 at 1:15PM
    MuttleythefrogMuttleythefrog Forumite
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    edited 18 July 2020 at 1:15PM
    As per the above.... any discrimination really is regarding couples versus singles and arguably it isn't even that. You've had excellent advice above... and rest assured legacy benefits (like ESA) less generous in several respects. Any loss of financial independence is because you'd be considered a cohabiting couple and I don't think it unreasonable for systems like the benefits system to consider cohabiting couples as some different entity for consideration than two people living separately. You need to take a decision... which relates to your personal outlook, expectations and plans... it'll be a lot more complex a consideration than financial I am sure (it is for regular people without your condition) and I think you have to look at that whole picture. I would tell your partner, if you haven't already, how you find that loss of financial independence difficult in mind... they may provide reassurances or express some other view to help with decisions. What you could do... not sexy I know... is set a timeline of plan... 'let's see how things develop over the next 6 months... stay over at weekends...and if things are still going well move in together and all that that entails'. Something like that buys you time to think.. develop the relationship... show intent... and explore living together without actually doing so materially.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    I wouldn't move in together. Disabled or not. I agree with others here who have said that there isn't any discrimination towards disabled people but rather to those who do decide to cohabit. Besides, if the relationship goes sour (I'm not saying it will but you never know) then you'll both have to start all those application procedures (which are really awful, I know) again, one of you will have to find somewhere to live, etc. If you're happy in your relationship, why rock the boat? You can stay over whenever you like but you can also have your independence, financial included. That's the best kind of relationship, to my mind. 
  • RobinHillRobinHill Forumite
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    Hi, thank you all for the replies.
    Housing costs aren't applicable in my case. Two basic single claimant's = 2 x £330, whereas as a couple it is £515 (approx. fig.s). I assume that the difference is down to the cost savings of living together. The £500 UC work allowance wouldn't apply as it would be exhausted by my partners level of earnings.
    The reason why I think it is discriminatory, or at the very least oppressive is take the following ... I am a disabled person trying to "flaunt my wares" to attract a partner ... but part of the bio reads "Potential match may have to support me financially". Any takers?
    I have little choice in the need for support, it would be extremely difficult for me to provide for myself through employment. Moreover the state has deemed that due to poor health I cannot support myself hence the LCWRA. An able bodied person does have a choice in attempting to seek employment.
    It just seems wrong that I should have to lose my financial independence and have to expect a partner to support me financially in order to live together.
    The thought was prompted by the war widows pension ruling and the similarities in that both are in effect state benefits. Albeit one being the result of a bereavement and the other through illness. The principle being that it has been deemed wrong for the recipient to lose the entitlement and financial independence on subsequent marriage / cohabitation.
    There are numerous good reasons to live with someone, for eg. if I fall on the floor and cannot get up, or struggling to mobilise out of bed etc, the list is endless.
    I fail to see the comparison to able bodied unemployed claimants who decide to cohabit. They are able to work and have a potential way out, as a disabled person I don't. That is the difference.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    RobinHill said:

    I have little choice in the need for support, it would be extremely difficult for me to provide for myself through employment. Moreover the state has deemed that due to poor health I cannot support myself hence the LCWRA.
    That doesn't give anyone the automatic right to a means tested benefit, if they live with a working partner. The standard allowance couples rate is less than 2 single claims because it's cheaper for a couple to live together than it is to remain in 2 separate households.
    It doesn't really matter how much you moan, the rules won't change. If you decide to move in with your partner then they are supposed to support you, that's what a relationship is all about.

  • RobinHillRobinHill Forumite
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    The war widow's pension was in effect means tested. They "moaned" as you put it and the rules were changed. Nothing to do with the public at large's contrasting views of the military and the disabled?
    For example, BBC Panorama some years ago ... "and he is using a bicycle and claiming disability benefits", ie. accusations of fraud. Military veteran has their legs blown off in Afghanistan, cycles 100 miles for charity and they are a hero for attempting it. So in that regard, yes it is unlikely to change.
    However why should it be any different for a war widow's pension.
    Cohabiting and the resulting loss of financial independence would be solely as a consequence of the recipient being disabled. Cohabiting and the resulting loss of financial independence would be solely as a consequence of the recipient being a war widow. 
    Why should there be a difference?
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