Q. My husband and I moved in together last month. He is working, but I was made redundant three months ago.
I was only working part-time and I don’t qualify for contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Does my husband have to provide for me, or can I claim benefits myself?
A. If you do not qualify for contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance then your husband’s income will be taken into account and assessed for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (apart from in full service Universal Credit areas).
If you are a fit and healthy couple then you are classed as needing £114.85 per week to live on and Jobseeker’s Allowance would only top up your income to that amount.
If your husband’s income is over that amount then Jobseeker’s Allowance would not be awarded.
You may, however, qualify for Working Tax Credit if your husband works 30 hours per week on average.
In full service Universal Credit areas you may be entitled to Universal Credit as a couple; both benefits are paid as joint claims.
Q. I have been claiming Employment and Support Allowance for around five years now.
I am pregnant with my first child and people are telling me that I should claim Income Support when the baby is born, is that correct?
I am living by myself, my partner has his own home and won’t be moving in yet.
A. If you continue to meet the criteria for Employment and Support Allowance, i.e. that you are unable to work due to your health conditions, then you can continue to claim Employment and Support Allowance and do not have to move onto Income Support.
Income Support can be paid from 11 weeks before your baby is due, however, it may be paid at a lower rate than Employment and Support Allowance.
Some people, generally those who claim Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, can be better off financially by claiming Income Support as a lone parent, but others have a higher entitlement on Employment and Support Allowance.
It would be worth getting a full benefit check to find out which benefit would maximise your income. If you are in a full service Universal Credit area, then you would be assessed for Universal Credit rather than Income Support.
Again, it would be better to have a benefit check before you change your current benefit award.