Benefit’s Expert: ‘Should his earnings affect my benefits?’

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Q GENTOO Housing Group has contacted me about the Government’s plans to reduce Housing Benefit (HB) for certain people who have spare bedrooms.

 We have a three bedroom house, so will this affect us? I am 63, while my wife is 65 and, as she receives Guarantee Pension Credit, we also get full HB.

Worried (Pennywell)

A FROM April 2013 people of ‘working age’ living in social housing, like Gentoo, will have their HB reduced if they have more bedrooms than they need.

 By ‘working age’ the Government means people who are not old enough to claim Pension Credit (PC).

 The qualifying age for PC is gradually rising and by next April will have reached 61 and half years. As you will both be older than that by then, your HB will not be reduced.

 Couples with a spare bedroom currently on HB will only suffer a cut if they are both under PC qualifying age come April.

Q AS my son, aged 18, is at sixth-form college I still get Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for him and he is included in my Council Tax Benefit claim. As he has a Saturday job should his earnings affect any of my benefits?

Mrs P. (by Email)

A NO. The incomes of dependents are not taken into account.

Q MY partner and I recently separated and I have moved out of our home with my nine year old.

 I have seen a property with a rent of £375 a month and wonder if I could get any help with it. My take home pay is £800 a month and I also receive Tax Credits of £85 a week.

Rose (by Email)

A YOU would be entitled to HB of about £38 a week. If you have to pay Council Tax as well your bill would be reduced to £764 a year.

Q MY daughter’s husband has been off work for the last 14 months due to a bone marrow transplant but his sick pay from work has now run out, leaving him with only £100 a week Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

 My daughter earns £550 a month.Is there any more they can claim for mortgage or Council Tax?

Hopeful Mum

A PEOPLE on Contribution-based ESA may be entitled to more if their income is below a certain level. That level in your son in law’s case, even including the maximum mortgage allowance, would be around £220 a week and they have more than this.

 However, they would be entitled to Council Tax Benefit that would reduce their Council Tax to about £686 a year.