BENEFITS EXPERT: Benefits support available with a granddaughter moving in

Q. I currently live by myself but my granddaughter will be coming to live with me for the foreseeable future.

Guidance on how to claim benefits to help support a 14-year-old granddaughter moving in.
Guidance on how to claim benefits to help support a 14-year-old granddaughter moving in.

I currently just get my State Pension, along with Housing Benefit and council tax support, I currently do not work but I am considering a part-time job if this will help to support her. There is only myself in the property. I am confused as to how I can claim additional support to cover her living costs. She is 14 and still in full time education. I have been told to claim Tax Credits, other people have stated Pension Credit whilst others have stated Universal Credit. I know I can claim Child Benefit for her.

A. In this situation you are correct that Child Benefit can be claimed, as for the remaining benefits the position is as follows.

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Currently Universal Credit cannot be claimed by anyone of State Retirement Age.

You have not confirmed your current State Pension Income but in this situation you should apply for Pension Credit to see if the addition of your granddaughter to the household will entitle you to some Pension Credit.

If you do successfully get at least one pence of Pension Credit (you may get more, this will depend on your State Pension), it will then mean you may also get an increase in your Housing Benefit and 100% of your Council Tax will be paid.

If you do seek any form of employment, whether part-time or full-time, then you cannot currently make a claim for Tax Credits that would include amounts for your granddaughter, unless you currently get Working Tax Credits and could then request a review to include assistance for your granddaughter.

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If you claim Pension Credit and then start a job then depending on your salary you may or may not still be entitled to Pension Credit.

I would advise you have a benefit check giving an indication of your likely wage to see if working would end Pension Credit.

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In general it is always best to retain entitlement to Pension Credit, especially the Guarantee element as it entitles you to other help for example maximum Housing benefit, Council Tax Support, free dental care, etc.