Q. I have two children who have their own rooms, but Housing Benefit have said that they should be sharing a room, is that true?
A. You are free to choose your own living arrangements, but when calculating your Housing Benefit, the Local Authority will treat the children as needing one room if they are under 10 years old. Between 10-16 years, children of the same sex can share a room and from 16 onwards you are classed as needing your own room. There is an exception if your children are unable to share a room because of health problems. One of the children must be receiving middle or high rate Disability Living Allowance care and the Local Authority must accept that their disability prevents them from sharing a room.
Q. I am a lone parent and I get Income Support. I have been thinking about doing some work from home such as Avon or Juice Plus, would this affect my Income Support?
A. You would need to declare any work that you do including flexible work that you do from home. A certain amount of your income would be ignored, known as a disregard. Depending on your circumstances up to £20 would be disregarded If you were working an average of 16 hours per week then you could make a claim for Working Tax Credit by calling 0345 300 3900.
Q. I’ve received a letter asking me to go for a compliance interview. I’ve been told that the DWP think I might be working; I’m not working as I’m claiming Employment and Support Allowance as I’m unable to work. What will happen?
A. A compliance interview is usually the first stage in a benefit investigation. It can happen as the result of a ‘tip-off’ or a spot check on your claim. You will be asked about any work that you have been doing and your health is likely to be discussed. The DWP may also ask about money in your bank account. After a compliance interview, the DWP may decide to pursue the issue via an Interview under Caution which is a more formal procedure, or they may take no further action; many cases are not taken further than the initial compliance interview.