Eligibility for state benefits depends on a number of factors; while some are means-tested, others may not. While this blog post mainly focuses on whether or not individuals who own property can also claim benefits, we will also explore other areas that are important to the concept of eligibility for benefits claims in the UK. We will also discuss the circumstances that need to be reported to the DWP by claimants as they may have a significant impact on the benefits one claims.
Can I Claim Benefits If I Own A House?
Yes, you can claim benefits such as Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance if you own a house; however, you will no longer be eligible for Housing Benefit. The reason for this lies in the fact that to qualify for Housing Benefit, claimants need to be able to fulfil the following criteria:
- be at least 16 years old
- have a low income or be claiming other benefits
- have less than £16,000 in savings
If your house is mortgaged, you can still claim benefits and use the sum of payments received to pay your mortgage interest.
You can also continue claiming benefits if you own a home through the joint ownership scheme. In this case, you will also be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost element for your monthly rental or mortgage payments.
If you own a house or you live with a partner who owns their house, you can claim support to help you pay your mortgage interest. This is a repayable interest accrued loan.
Additionally, you can claim Universal Credit to make payments related to your home; such as:
- the cost of purchasing the property
- home insurance
- repairs and maintenance
However, you must be on benefits for at least 39 weeks without a break in between; also you should not be in receipt of any of the below forms on incomes:
- Earnings from your job (whether you are employed or self-employed)
- A tax refund
- Statutory Adoption Pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Statutory Shared Parental Pay
Can I Claim Benefits When Separated But Living Together?
Yes, you can claim benefits if you and your partner choose to separate as a couple but continue living together. However, if you were claiming benefits as a couple, they may be reduced to single person claims. On the other hand, being separated may make you and your partner eligible for certain other benefits that you were unable to claim before.
If you and your partner were jointly claiming benefits as a couple, it is advisable for you to inform the Job Centre and HMRC of the change in your relationship status as you may no longer qualify for the same amount. Alternatively, you may now be able to claim certain other state benefits due to your single status.
If there are children involved, the parent with the main care responsibility of the children will be eligible for a Working Tax Credit if they work 16 hours a week.
Can I Claim Benefits If Someone Lives With Me?
Yes, you can claim benefits if someone lives with you as long as your place of residence is not their main residence. This means that they may choose to stay with you for a few days or sleepover the night or stay over if they are taking care of you for any reason; however, they must have evidence to prove that they have a permanent residence of their own where they are responsible for paying rent, council tax and monthly utility bills.
There has been a general assumption that someone staying over at your place for two to three nights per week will not affect your benefits or in the case of a relationship, you will not be considered as a partner. The error with this assumption is that it is not the number of days (or nights) that count towards classifying two people as living together and consequently affecting their benefits, it is the evidential proof of whether someone is considering your home as their own when they stay in your house.
If someone regularly stays at your place for a few nights each week, doesn’t have a permanent residence of their own or their bills are addressed to your home, they will be considered as living with you and due to this change in your circumstances, your benefits will be affected.
Can I Claim Benefits If I Resign From My Job?
If you resign from your job on professional terms and are able to provide evidence for having sound reasons for leaving your workplace, you may be able to claim the following benefits:
- New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
However, there are certain conditions that will apply for each benefit to be claimed. For instance, in the case of JSA, you should be under State Pension age, unemployed or working for less than 16 hours per week. Additionally, you should have made sufficient National Insurance contributions over the recent 2 to 3 years.
In the case of New Style Employment and Support Allowance, all of the above conditions will remain applicable; additionally, the claimant must be able to provide proof of a disability or health condition that has an impact on the number of hours that they are able to work.
In order to claim Universal Credit, you or your partner are required to be under State Pension age and have saving equal to less than £16,000.
For Pension Credit, both you and your partner should have reached State Pension age. Otherwise one of you should be claiming Housing Benefit for people above State Pension age.
In addition to benefits claim, you may also be eligible for an income tax refund after your resignation and until you are able to find another job.
Can I Claim Benefits If I Inherit Money?
If you inherit a lump sum amount of money while you are claiming benefits, you must inform the Department for Work and Pensions. An inheritance increases your savings and is counted as a change in circumstances with must be reported to local authorities to re-assess your financial situation.
As a result of this reassessment, there may be changes to your benefits claim. Since your savings are accounted for during a means test for benefits claim, an inheritance can potentially reduce the benefits you currently receive.
Benefits that are means-tested (this means that the claimants’ income and savings affect their benefits claim) will reduce with an increase in your savings. These include the following:
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Tax
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
However, since the following benefits are not means-tested, the amount that you claim from them will not be affected by your inheritance:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Contribution-Based Employment and Support Allowance
What Changes Need To Be Reported For Benefits Claim?
Claimants need to inform the local council authorities in case of any of the below listed circumstantial changes to their conditions as they will bear a direct impact on their benefits claim:
- one’s name or gender
- finding a new job or ending a previous one
- different working hours
- increase or decrease in income
- an increase or decrease in pension, savings, investments or property
- salary arrears (this applies to you and your partner)
- beginning or ending an educational degree, training or apprenticeship
- home address
- extended stay out of the UK
- number of people in the household
- marital status
- physical and mental health conditions
- extended hospital stay or moving into a care home
- starting or stopping caring for someone
- change of medical adviser
- increase or decrease in benefits you or anyone else in your household receives
- your immigration status (in case you are not a British citizen)
From the above discussion it may be safe to conclude that depending on their income, savings and personal circumstances, homeowners may be able to claim benefits even though they are in ownership of property. As a homeowner, you may be able to claim benefits such as Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance if you own a house; however, you will no longer be eligible for Housing Benefit. However, if you inherit money while you are claiming benefits, you must inform the DWP since an inheritance increases your savings and is counted as a change in circumstances. This must be reported to local authorities to re-assess your financial situation and recalculate your benefits claim.
FAQs: Can I Claim Benefits If I Own A House?
Can you have a mortgage and claim benefits?
Yes, you can have a mortgage and still claim benefits. You can also continue claiming benefits if you own a home through the joint ownership scheme. In this case, you will also be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost element for your monthly rental or mortgage payments. If you own a house or you live with a partner who owns their house, you can claim support to help you pay your mortgage interest. This is a repayable interest accrued loan.
Does owning a property affect Universal Credit?
No, you can claim Universal Credit to make payments related to your home; such as the cost of purchasing the property, home insurance, repairs and maintenance. However, you must be on benefits for at least 39 weeks without a break in between; also you should not be in receipt of any form of income.
Can u get Universal Credit if you have a mortgage?
Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you have a mortgage. If you live under a joint ownership scheme, you will be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost element for your monthly rental or mortgage payments. If you own a house or you live with a partner who owns their house, you can claim support to help you pay your mortgage interest.
How much money can you have in the bank and still claim benefits in the UK?
There are certain benefits that are affected by the amount in your bank account while others may not be so. In the case of means-tested benefits, your bank account should not hold more than £10,000 for you to remain eligible to claim benefits.
Can I get a mortgage if I’m unemployed?
Yes, you can get a mortgage if you are unemployed. In this case, you will need a parent or a spouse to be your co-signor and confirm that payments will be made on time.