BENEFITS EXPERT: Should I move in with my boyfriend?

Benefits Expert
Benefits Expert

I am thinking of moving in with my boyfriend when I start university. I will not be working, so I will not get Working Tax Credit, but will still be eligible for Child Tax Credit in respect of my one child.

I will have student finance of £10,700 for the coming year and my partner earned £16,000 for the last tax year according to his P60.

What help might we be entitled to as regards Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Council Tax?

If you and your partner were to be treated as a couple for benefits and you were to be a non-working, full-time student, your partner could claim Working Tax Credit if he was working 24 hours a week or more. As only taxable income is taken into account when Tax Credits are calculated your student finance would not count as income.

How much Tax Credit would be payable would depend upon the figure that is taken as being your joint annual taxable income. This is usually gross income for the previous tax year.

But if you expect your income for the current year to be less than this, you can ask to be assessed on your expected income for this year.

I do not know what your annual income would be, but here are a couple of examples based on an assumption that your partner will be working for at least 30 hours a week.

If your joint annual income figure is £16,000, total Tax Credits (Working Tax Credit for him plus Child Tax Credit for you) would be about £80 a week. If your annual income was taken as £20,000 the total would be about £48 a week.

From next April changes to Tax Credits will mean reductions, so the amounts payable in the above examples would reduce to about £43 and £6 a week respectively.

As regards Housing Benefit and Council Tax reductions, partners who are students are treated as receiving the maximum student loan whether or not they take it. This, taken with your partner’s earnings, would put your income above the level where you could receive means-tested help with rent and Council Tax. However, as you would be a student, your partner would be treated as the only adult in your dwelling and would therefore be eligible for a 25% Council Tax discount.

My mother, aged 72, receives High Rate Attendance Allowance because she needs care.

Can she receive anything towards the costs of getting out and about?

The benefit for mobility is now part of what is called Personal Independence Payment. However, it must be claimed before the disabled person reaches the age of 65