Benefits Expert: Will my income be affected by taking in a relative?

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Q. My grandson is coming to live with me as his parents are struggling with his health problems and need some help.

He is getting Personal Independence Payment for daily living and mobility and he gets Employment and Support Allowance in the Support Group as he is not able to work.

I am happy to have him come and live with me, but I need to know whether my income will be affected by the change. I receive a State Retirement Pension and Pension Credit and I get Attendance Allowance as I have some health issues.

I get help with my rent and my Council Tax.

A: As both you and your grandson have health problems which have given rise to disability benefits, your income should not change if your grandson moves in with you.

You may be receiving a Severe Disability Addition within your Pension Credit entitlement and often this stops when someone moves into the property with you, however, it does not stop if the person who moves in also has health problems and is claiming a disability benefit.

To qualify for the Severe Disability Addition you must be claiming Attendance Allowance (or Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment), be living alone or only with other people who receive Attendance Allowance Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment and not have anyone claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after you – if you meet these three criteria now, then you will continue to meet them when your grandson moves in with you.

If no one is claiming Carer’s Allowance for your grandson then you may be able to claim an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance (assuming your State Retirement Pension is more than £62.70 per week) which would give you an extra £34.95 per week added to your Pension Credit.

Q: I left my job in March and received a sizeable redundancy package.

I have used this money to support myself over the summer and also to make some renovations to my home.

I am now running low on savings and I have made a claim for Jobseekers Allowance.

The DWP have asked for details of where the redundancy money went, but I’m not sure that they should be asking as I didn’t try to claim benefits when I still had the money in the bank.

A. The DWP are making inquiries about the money that you had and how it was spent because it can affect your ongoing entitlement to benefits if they find that you have intentionally deprived yourself of the money.

If the DWP find that you spent the money in a frivolous way and that they believe that you did so in order to claim benefits, then they can treat you are still having the money now, even though you have spent it.

What is important when making a decision on deprivation of capital is what your intention was when you spent the money – the DWP must believe that claiming benefits was at least part of your decision making process.

If the DWP accept that you spent the money reasonably, or that you were not considering your entitlement to benefits then they should allow a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance.