BENEFITS EXPERT: Will our benefits be increased now we’ve had our first child
Q. I currently claim Income Based ESA along with PIP for care and mobility. My partner is included in my claim.
We have recently had our first child and want to know if our benefits will increase in this situation. We also get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction and rent privately.
A. In this situation you will be required to make a claim for Universal Credit for any increase to your current benefits following the birth of your first child, it is no longer possible to claim Child Tax Credits and remain on legacy benefits.
Your Housing Benefit will also end and instead be included in your Universal Credit Calculation. Your Council Tax Reduction will remain in payment and will be revised based on the amount of Universal Credit you receive. Your PIP will still remain in place and will be ignored for the purposes of Universal Credit.
As you are currently getting ESA if you have had a Work Capability Assessment and have been found to have limited work capability then you should not need to have a further assessment when you move to UC and will not have any job seeking requirements. You did not say if your partner is your carer and claims Carer’s Allowance, if she is then again she would not have any commitments to receive UC, any Carer’s Allowance will still be paid. If however someone else is your carer then your partner will not have any job seeking requirements but once your child reaches one then she will likely be required to be prepared to undertake very basic back to work commitments. As your child gets older then these requirements will increase and by the age of 5 your partner would normally have full job seeking commitments (unless of course you have other children).
You can still claim Child Benefit from the date of birth of the child and this can be done immediately, you do not have to wait until your UC claim is live. You can also claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant no later than 6 months from the date your child was born. Again this can be claimed now as you get a qualifying benefit and do not need to wait until the UC claim is in payment. The current payment is £500.
Sunderland Citizens Advice Bureau has a new team of energy advisors to provide and assist clients with their utility bills, such as choosing a better tariff, changing suppliers, methods of lowering fuel usage, grants towards fuel or energy efficiency measures amongst other things. You can contact the bureau on 0300 330 1193 Monday to Friday 9am til 4.30pm.