Disability, dating and finances. Why are we punished financially if we want to be in a relationship? — Scope | Disability forum
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Disability, dating and finances. Why are we punished financially if we want to be in a relationship?

caitswildecake Member Posts: 6 Connected
Why are we punished financially if we want to be in a relationship with someone? I always wondered why my mum told me to put that I should always put single on documents to do with my finances and it was only recently I found out that once you get married you can lose your benefits and you become your partners problem then. I grew up having dreams of getting married one day but now I feel like that’s been took away from me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to work but I have no choice but to rely on the extra income right now, I’m at that age where I’m interested in dating however I feel like I’m having to choose finances over a potential future with someone. I couldn’t bear the feeling of making my partner be responsible for me financially. 


  • cbyrne01
    cbyrne01 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi there
    I agree! I've just got married  and in receipt of new style ESA and UC due to Crohn's Disease and Psoriatic Arthritis I had to give up my job and rely on benefits I even moved into my parents house as I struggle with double incontinence. I was lucky enough to meet a kind and supportive man and after the last 3 years courting we married in August. I let the DWP know my change of circumstances and I now live with him . Apparently ESA isn't means tested but UC is and they want me to make a joint claim we were both horrified my husband has a very good private pension and ive always been independent financially. I don't want him to pay for my disabilities. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,694 Disability Gamechanger
    When you're claiming any means tested benefits if you live with a partner then you claim as a couple, even if you're not married. Entitlement to means tested benefits depends on both of your circumstances. This doesn't mean you're not entitled to means tested benefit, it wil depend on both of your circumstances. The same rules applied when it was tax credits and has been like this for decades.
    If you're claiming a Contributions based benefit like New style ESA or Contributions based ESA then living with a partner doesn't affect the amount you're entitled to.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    The concept of being "punished" is interesting. Couples have so many varied personal circumstances I don't believe it's possible to generalise or suggest targetting. If you move in with a millionaire and lose your means-tested ESA or UC are you being punished or would that be correct? Is it then correct that you could nevertheless continue to receive PIP? 

    Nothing is ever as black and white as people want it to be. 
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,642 Disability Gamechanger
    It's not the relationship that reduces your income, it's living together.  Which makes sense really, it's much cheaper for 2 people to rent a property together than it is to rent one each.  Then bills are only increased slightly by having another person live there.  For example, it costs the same to heat a property with two people as one, it costs the same to run the fridge,  cooker, TV each day etc.  UC & old style ESA are designed to be the 'minimum' the average person needs to live on so they are directly affected by living together.

    PIP isn't means tested because it's designed specifically for the person with the disability, their costs for the disability are unlikely to be changed by living with someone.  You will continue to get PIP at the same rate if you move in with someone.  So you are not being punished financially for the disability part.

    Sadly, there are circumstances where some people end up in more difficulty after moving in together, but that's the same with all benefits, there's never going to be a perfect system that works for everyone.
  • mousey
    mousey Member Posts: 21 Courageous
    Yep I didn't realise this for a time - I moved in with an ex and then lost my ESA and proceeded to get into thousands of pounds of credit card debt paying 'half' of everything. We seperated and I got my financial independence back but by then I was 10000s in debt, because I was unable to work and he didn't earn enough to pay for us both. It was awful.

    But as a young person and someone who will always be too unwell to work, it feels like a death sentence of living alone, unmarried, and childless for the rest of my life. Because I don't want to become someone elses dependent. It puts a horrific strain on relationships and not to mention it 'traps' disabled people into being financially dependent on their partners which is an awful situation to be in if you have an abusive relationship.


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