Q. I have received just received a letter from DWP saying I live with my partner and they are stopping my claim for Income Support.
A. If you do not accept that you are living with your partner then you can appeal the decision. The first stage would be to request a Mandatory Reconsideration of the decision which can be done over the phone or in writing to the DWP. A Mandatory Reconsideration should be submitted within one month from the date on the decision letter, although a late appeal can be submitted up to 12 months late where you have a good reason for it being so late. When deciding whether or not you are your partner are living together as husband and wife the DWP have to consider the cohabitation signposts. This is a set of 6 questions which they use to assess whether or not you appear to be living together. The questions are: Do you live in the same household? Do you have a sexual relationship? What are your financial arrangements? Is your relationship stable? Do you have children? How do you appear in public? You should go through these questions and try to provide information about them, where possible, with evidence to support what you are arguing. For example, if you are stating that he rents a property elsewhere then you could provide a copy of his tenancy agreement and bills that he pays; you could provide copies of utility bills in your partner’s name that are sent to the other address. You can provide evidence of your 25% single person’s discount for Council Tax if you receive that. The DWP will investigate a number of situations such as where two friends live together, but state that they are not in a romantic relationship, which is why they consider whether or not you have a sexual relationship. It is not usually something that they would ask outright, but if you have children together then they would use that as evidence of a relationship that was more than friendship. Your financial arrangements will form a central part of their investigation. If you and your partner have separate bank accounts and you keep your financial arrangements for bills separate then you should provide bank statements to confirm this. Where your partner is registered for the electoral register will be checked. If he is registered at his own address then you should use that as evidence to support your appeal. The Mandatory Reconsideration will be dealt with by the DWP and they will send you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice with the outcome. If the decision has not been overturned then you can appeal further to the Tribunal Service. To appeal further you would need to complete an SSCS1 form, which is available online, within one month from the date on the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.