Can we claim benefits for looking after a third child when we have two already?
Q. My husband and I have two children and social services have asked us to look after my sister's baby when it is born in November, but we are trying to find out what we will be entitled to, as I have read that you can't get extra benefits for a third child.
A. As of April 6, 2017, you are no longer able to claim additional Child Tax Credit for children born after this date if they are your third child (or more). There are some exceptions to this, including where you adopt a child from local authority care or where you are caring for a child under a formal arrangement such as a Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangement Order. Another exception is where you are caring for a child informally, who would otherwise have been placed in local authority care.
Q. I am currently living with my parents, but I have found a property to rent. I am going to be getting help from Housing Benefit, but I am worried about being in rent arrears while my claim is being processed, as I don’t have the money to pay my rent up front without benefits.
A. You can make a claim for Housing Benefit up to 13 weeks in advance, so that the claim can be ready to go into payment once you move into the property. In Universal Credit full service areas you would not be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit as a change of address would trigger a claim for Universal Credit instead.
Q. I got a letter a few days ago telling me that I will qualify for a Pensioner Premium in my Jobseeker’s Allowance claim soon. Does this mean that I’ll be classed as a pensioner and won’t have to look for work anymore?
A. Pensioner Premium is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, but are claiming a different benefit instead. Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid at £73.10 per week for people under pension credit age, but it matches the pension credit rate of £159.35 per week for people who have reached pension credit age. If you continue to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance then you will need to continue looking for work and signing on at the Jobcentre.
However, you could cancel your Jobseeker’s Allowance claim and make a claim for Pension Credit, which doesn’t have the same job seeking requirements. Also, Pension Credit has more favourable rules regarding capital, so if you have any capital then you could be better off by claiming Pension Credit.