Benefits Expert: ‘Am I entitled to any other benefit?’

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Q I recently had a meeting with the Jobcentre and they have stopped my Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) because I have moved into my girlfriend’s parents’ house.

My girlfriend claims Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The Jobcentre has not explained why they have stopped my benefit but can they do this just because I have changed my address?

R (by email).

A It looks as though you and your girlfriend are being treated as a couple who are “living together as husband and wife”.

This means the circumstances of both of you will be taken into account.

So if your girlfriend works 24 hours a week or earns over a certain amount you cannot qualify for Income-based JSA.

Q I currently work 16 hours a week but could reduce my hours to 12.

As this would be weekend work, however, my earnings would increase. Someone told me that you do not pay National Insurance if you work less than 16 hours a week. Is this right?

K (by Email).

A No. Whether or not a person is liable to pay National Insurance does not depend upon their hours of work but on how much they earn.

An employed person must pay National Insurance if they earn above £139 a week

Q My daughter, her partner and their baby are currently living with my husband and me.

However, we are selling up and moving and wonder what help they could get with the rent of private accommodation. My daughter earns £14,000 a year plus Tax Credits, while her partner is on JSA.

Mrs. M (by Email).

A They could not expect much if anything. They would cease to qualify for help once their joint weekly income (not counting Child Benefit) rises above £366, which is about what they appear to get.

Q My husband and I, both aged 57, each work 20 hours a week for a total of £15,000 a year. Could we be entitled to any Tax Credits?

Mrs. S (Grangetown).

A Sorry no. For a couple in your situation to be eligible for Working Tax Credit one of you would have to be working for at least 30 hours a week.

Q I am now 60, have lost my job and then my wife following trouble with the police. I have only a monthly works pension of £454 and a rent rebate. Am I entitled to any other benefit?

Mr. T (Sunderland).

A Not yet but later in the year you will be entitled to Pension Credit. This currently would bring your income up to £137.35 a week plus full Housing Benefit.