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Housing Benefit Advice please!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Housing benefit help
9 replies 2.8K views
PercyPurseStringsPercyPurseStrings Forumite
6 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Housing benefit help
Advice needed!

From doing the MSE benefits checker, it says that my partner & I would be entitled to housing benefit as well as a reduction in Council tax.

A quick summary of us:
- My partner is self employed;
- I do not work;
- We have a 14 month old daughter;
- We do not claim any benefits currently. However, we are in receipt of Working Tax credits etc;
- We live in private rented accomodation;
- We do not have any savings to speak of.

As my partner is the sole earner, our tenancy agreement is in his name. However, the property we live in is owned by my paternal grandmother who has been in residential care for the last 12 months or so. The rent that is paid by my partner ultimately goes towards her care costs, the majority of which are funded via my Nan's savings etc.

My question is this: would the fact that the property is owned by my Nan in any way stop us from being able to claim housing benefit, given that I am a family member even if it is my partner's name on the tenancy agreement?

Until now, we have opted to not apply for any benefits and have (just about) scraped by (we have significant credit card and overdraft debt as a result).

I am beginning a college course in September where fee concessions are applicable. In order to meet the criteria for fee concessions, I have been told by the college I need to be in receipt of JSA, ESA, Income Support or Housing Benefit.

As I am not currently a job seeker, JSA isn't an option.

Can anyone give any advice as to what is deemed "close relative" in terms of Housing Benefit??

While it may seem that we are considering the Housing Benefit route simply to gain fee concessions on my studies, it isn't that straightforward: put simply, we are starting to drown financially and really struggling to keep our heads above water. It just so happens that this is becoming apparent at the same time the fee concessions criteria has been raised.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses....

Replies

  • edited 19 June 2012 at 1:04PM
    BigAuntyBigAunty Forumite
    8.3K posts
    edited 19 June 2012 at 1:04PM
    Many people on this forum consider tax credits to be the same as benefits, including me. There's nothing wrong with claiming benefits and perhaps you should have considered this - council tax, housing benefit, child benefit, etc, rather than getting in debt and struggling.

    It is possible to get housing benefit when a tenant lives in a property owned by a close relative so long as it's not a contrived tenancy, one set up to exploit the housing benefit system (for example, not charging rent when in employment but charging it when on benefits).

    It seems to exclude grandparents as close relatives in this definition anyway. However, if it was owned by a close relative of yours and your partner is listed as the tenant, I doubt this is a valid loophole as I'd imagine it is considered as a joint claim, though perhaps another MSE poster would be kind enough to confirm or challenge this.

    Why would you have your partner's sole name on your tenancy agreement when it's a family property? This means they have stronger occupancy rights than you and can ask you to leave!!

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/technical-guidance/rr2-a-guide-to-housing-benefit/housing-benefit/

    Here is the position on HB and students, though you can check on the Student Money Saving board. Those students who qualify for HB have their student income taken into account, including, I believe, their student loan if eligible to take one out, even if they decide not to. There are some deductions for books or some such. Perhaps another MSE poster can confirm what is included as income by a student receiving student finance who applies for income based benefits?

    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/paying_for_a_home/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/housing_benefit_for_students

    Income support is not an option for your household either - that's really something to top up the income for those with disabilities, lone parents, etc.
  • daimondedaimonde Forumite
    199 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I personally wouldnt consider this as a contrived tenancy, you already live there, this hasnt been set up to take advantage of the benefits system, you have a tenancy agreement too which should help.

    the close relative part of it isnt really relevant as such, as per the link posted above, thats more for living in the same property as the landlord.

    i dont know the ins and outs of claiming HB as a student without having my work bits and pieces in front of me ie whats taken into account re books, loans, grants. what courses are classed as what.

    But id suggest any claim be made in your partners name to avoid any issues further down the line in regard to this.
    worked for DWP & Local Authorities in Benefits for 20years+ ....not sure why mind you.
  • BigAuntyBigAunty Forumite
    8.3K posts
    daimonde wrote: »
    ...

    the close relative part of it isnt really relevant as such, as per the link posted above, thats more for living in the same property as the landlord.

    You are correct that tenants who live in the same property as their landlord to whom they are closely related cannot claim housing benefit.

    You are incorrect that contrived tenancies only apply to this - a tenant who lives in a property separate from the landlord to whom they are related can also fall foul of contrived tenancy rules.

    The OP's grandmother is not a close relative, according to this DWP definition

    A close relative is a:
    • parent
    • or step-parent
    • or father-in-law or mother-in-law
    • or child
    • or step-child
    • or son-in-law or daughter-in-law
    • or brother or sister
    • or brother-in-law or sister-in-law
    • or partner of any of the above
    daimonde wrote: »
    ...
    But id suggest any claim be made in your partners name to avoid any issues further down the line in regard to this.

    I don't know the exact situation on this. However, because partners joint income is taken into account for income based benefits such as Housing Benefit, I wonder whether the contrived tenancy rules cannot be evaded by putting the tenancy in the non-related tenant's name. Perhaps another MSE poster can clarify the position?
  • princessdonprincessdon Forumite
    6.9K posts
    In case your hb doesn't come off for whatever reason - speak to the college re being an unemployed dependant of wtc as the fees should be free via wtc (although this is being looked at, last sfa guidance still has this fee remission for sept). However, hb will gain greater access to learner support and childcare.
  • daimondedaimonde Forumite
    199 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    BigAunty wrote: »

    You are incorrect that contrived tenancies only apply to this - a tenant who lives in a property separate from the landlord to whom they are related can also fall foul of contrived tenancy rules.

    The OP's grandmother is not a close relative, according to this DWP definition


    I don't know the exact situation on this. However, because partners joint income is taken into account for income based benefits such as Housing Benefit, I wonder whether the contrived tenancy rules cannot be evaded by putting the tenancy in the non-related tenant's name. Perhaps another MSE poster can clarify the position?


    i think you're misreading what ive said a little, maybe that my fault in the way i spelt it out. i certainly dont think you can say what i said was incorrect, i apologise if i was misleading.


    as for the last part, i was suggesting the partner applies for HB as a full time student as the lead customer may not be entitled further down the line, but as a partner they would.
    worked for DWP & Local Authorities in Benefits for 20years+ ....not sure why mind you.
  • alwaysonthego_2alwaysonthego_2 Forumite
    8.5K posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    MOVING THREADS FOR BETTER RESPONSES


    Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere (please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to another board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email [EMAIL="forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com"][email protected][/EMAIL].
  • CAB_Wyre_Forest_representativeCAB_Wyre_Forest_representative Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    117 posts
    Advice needed!

    From doing the MSE benefits checker, it says that my partner & I would be entitled to housing benefit as well as a reduction in Council tax.

    A quick summary of us:
    - My partner is self employed;
    - I do not work;
    - We have a 14 month old daughter;
    - We do not claim any benefits currently. However, we are in receipt of Working Tax credits etc;
    - We live in private rented accomodation;
    - We do not have any savings to speak of.

    As my partner is the sole earner, our tenancy agreement is in his name. However, the property we live in is owned by my paternal grandmother who has been in residential care for the last 12 months or so. The rent that is paid by my partner ultimately goes towards her care costs, the majority of which are funded via my Nan's savings etc.

    My question is this: would the fact that the property is owned by my Nan in any way stop us from being able to claim housing benefit, given that I am a family member even if it is my partner's name on the tenancy agreement?

    Until now, we have opted to not apply for any benefits and have (just about) scraped by (we have significant credit card and overdraft debt as a result).

    I am beginning a college course in September where fee concessions are applicable. In order to meet the criteria for fee concessions, I have been told by the college I need to be in receipt of JSA, ESA, Income Support or Housing Benefit.

    As I am not currently a job seeker, JSA isn't an option.

    Can anyone give any advice as to what is deemed "close relative" in terms of Housing Benefit??

    While it may seem that we are considering the Housing Benefit route simply to gain fee concessions on my studies, it isn't that straightforward: put simply, we are starting to drown financially and really struggling to keep our heads above water. It just so happens that this is becoming apparent at the same time the fee concessions criteria has been raised.

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses....
    As there have already been quite a few replies I would only like to add that you can find more detail on the CAB website www.adviceguide.org.uk and particularly http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/benefits_e/benefits_help_if_on_a_low_income_ew/help_with_your_rent_-_housing_benefit.htm
    Official CAB Representative
    I am an official representative of CAB. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to questions on the CAB Board. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. If you believe I’ve broken any rules please report my post to [email protected] as usual"
  • MOVING THREADS FOR BETTER RESPONSES


    Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere (please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to another board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email [EMAIL="forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com"][email protected][/EMAIL].

    I have to ask, what's the point of moving a thread to the CAB Board when the CAB Advisor's just going to answer as s/he has above?
  • edited 26 June 2012 at 12:58AM
    enabledebraenabledebra Forumite
    8.1K posts
    edited 26 June 2012 at 12:58AM
    Others are correct- the definition of 'close relative' does not come into this. The only issue that could be cosidered is whether the tenancy is 'contrived'. As Diamonde says, the fact that the tenants have lived there for a year without benefits would seriously undermine a case or contrivance whomever is named on the tenancy. They are claiming benefits now because their circumstances have changed- there is no evidence that the tenancy was created 'contrived' to take advantage of the benefit system.

    Any half baked adviser would be able to put paid to a contrived tenancy argument in these circumstances and I don't think many councils would attempt it or even want to. The only real question is how much are they entitled to claim under the means test, with a mild reference to the potential for 'contrivance' to be argued.

    Edit- as Dumroamin asks- why has this been moved.
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