Potential changes to benefits when moving in together

I am currently

She is getting Employment & Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment for care and mobility. She also has Child Tax Credits for 2 children as well as another child at home who is currently attending university as a full time student. What effect will my moving in have on her current benefits?

A. In the circumstances you describe your moving into the property will potentially entail a joint claim for Universal Credit. This will mean that her current Tax Credit entitlement will end and will be replaced by Universal Credit for the dependent children. You have not stated if her Employment and Support Allowance is Income Based or Contribution Based, it may be a combination of the two.

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If she is receiving Contributions Based ESA then this will not end but will instead be classed as income for the Universal Credit calculation and it will be paid separately to the UC claim. If however the award is Income Based ESA then the entire award will be replaced by UC. If she has already been assessed as having limited capability to work as part of her ESA entitlement then there will not be a requirement to have a further assessment as part of the UC claim and she would not have any commitments to receive UC. Her PIP award will also remain unchanged as the benefit is not means tested nor affected by the presence of another person. It is unlikely she currently receives a Severe Disablement Premium due to the presence of the child at university.

Your Job Seekers Allowance will also end and be replaced by the Universal Credit claim, however you may wish to consider claiming Carer’s Allowance as your partner receives a qualifying benefit. If you did do this then the benefit would be classed as income but the Universal Credit calculation would include a carer’s allowance which again will increase the overall amount of benefit. Furthermore as a carer you would also not have any claim commitments for the UC claim and would not be required to take part in job searches, etc. in order to be paid.

You did not mention whether your partner rents or receives Housing Benefit but if she does then again this will end and instead your rent costs would form part of the UC claim, your council tax reduction would be re-assessed based on the new income. As always you should visit an advisor for a full benefit check which will give an indication of the likely amount of UC and other ways to maximise your income.