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Will his income mean that most of my benefits will change? would we be worse off?

wsmsd Member Posts: 2 Listener
afternoon guys,
I currently get esa and pip, housing benefit and child tax credits. This is after my husband walked out on our family (his son is now 2) and left me with a long term health condition. I currently rent privately a house on my own to home us all (I have 5 boys). My boyfriend wants us to move in together once his house sells and my divorce is through. He works 37 hours a week. Will his income mean that most of my benefits will change? would we be worse off? should we stick to renting or should he buy a home?
I will look at the benefits calculators but i'm terrible with numbers and get bad social anxiety speaking on the phone.
thanks in advance


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,525 Disability Gamechanger

    If your ESA is Income Related and you move in with your partner then yes this will be affected and your ESA will stop because he works full time.
    If your ESA is Contribution based then your partner working won't affect this.

    Housing benefit and council tax reduction will be affected because they are a means tested benefit.

    If he sells his house and you move in together and decide not to buy another then any savings/capital you both have will affect any means tested benefits you claim. Anything over £16,000 and you won't be entitled to any means tested benefits. £6,000 and over and it affects them £1 for every £250 over that amount.

    PIP isn't means tested and won't be affected.

    It's impossible to tell you if you'll be worse because no one knows your circumstances or your partners circumstances. You could make an appointment with your local CAB for further advice.
  • Liam_Alumni
    Liam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,105 Pioneering
    Hi @wsmsd,

    Have you considered contacting our helpline? You can drop them an email at [email protected], and they may be able to offer some further advice and support.
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Poppy has given some really excellent advice above. I can see that it's difficult to use the benefit calculators & also hard to speak on the phone. I suggest what you do is think about what you're getting at the moment. As Poppy says, if you get contribution-based ESA this may continue (although it also depends on whether you're in the support group). PIP also would continue, no effect on that.

    However, income-based ESA, if you're getting any, would definitely stop. As Poppy says, that's because your partner works full time.

    Housing Benefit and Council Tax help would depend on his income, but Poppy is right to point out that if your boyfriend has capital from selling his home & doesn't use it to buy another one, then you wouldn't be able to get these benefits any more. Buying a home with the proceeds would mean he didn't have those savings  - though I don't know if he can afford to buy one big enough for all of you. It depends, of course, on how much his current home is worth. 

    Even if your boyfriend didn't have capital from selling his home, your Housing Benefit and Council Tax help would definitely reduce. You MIGHT still get some housing benefit - because you have 5 children, it makes it possible you could get help even with one partner working full time. You'd lose your 25% discount on the council tax for being the sole adult, and although you might get some council tax reduction, that will depend on how your local scheme does the calculation.

    Let's summarise:

    boyfriend sells home & doesn't buy a new one, has savings from that sale, moves in with you - no income-related ESA, no HB, no council tax help. Possibly some contributory ESA if you're already getting it. Your child tax credit would stop (you must tell HMRC so that this happens - otherwise you're being overpaid). You should be able to make a new claim for tax credits as a couple, because you have more than two children, and I'd strongly recommend that you do that because that option will go at the end of January next year. What you get in tax credits would depend on your boyfriend's income in 2017/18. You'd definitely still get PIP and child benefit. Child benefit is only a problem if your boyfriend earns more than £50,000 a year, when he would have to pay some or all of it back via a tax charge.

    boyfriend sells his home & buys a new one for all of you. You'd get no income-related ESA, but might get some HB, and might get some council tax help. Contributory ESA could continue if you're already getting it. Child tax credit would stop and you'd have to claim tax credits as a couple - what you'd get would depend on his income in the previous tax year. It might be Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, or just Child Tax Credit, or neither.

    You'd be worse off in that instead of your boyfriend having a salary & you having your benefits, he'd have his salary & you would have a lot less in benefits. That's for definite. On another view, you have to offset that by what you'd share in having joint bills, which could be considerable - running one household is cheaper than running two.

     My biggest piece of advice is that if you do move in together, you do it before February 2019 and you claim tax credits as a couple before then, even if you end up getting a nil award because of his income. The reason this advice is important is that, after 1st February 2019, Universal Credit won't pay you for all of your children unless you move to UC via managed migration by the DWP at a point where you still get tax credits for all of them.

    I know this sounds a bit technical - to make it more basic, I would say to make sure you stay on tax credits & if you need to reclaim as a couple, do that before 1st Feb 19.

    It's a difficult decision, but I hope that you have a few pointers now about what to be careful with - be careful about the capital limit, and be careful not to lose child tax credit. If you are on income-related ESA and you get the severe disability premium and enhanced disability premium, I'd also be aware that those don't exist in Universal Credit, and so on a very long term view, you might lose out if you had to claim UC in the future and you weren't moving from income-related ESA.

    I'm sorry - it's very complicated! Perhaps have a chat with your boyfriend and try to keep records of your respective bills for a couple of months or so to help understand what the costs of living apart are (particularly as we move into the colder months).

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland


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