Benefits Expert: How a son or daughter moving back home can affect your Universal Credit

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Q. My 21-year-old daughter has moved back home for a while and my Universal Credit has been reduced.

When I have spoken to them they have said that it is because of a housing cost contribution, but when I have spoken to my friends they have told me that housing costs are only for mortgaged properties, but I am renting my property.

Should they be making deductions for my daughter?

A. Under Universal Credit, the amount that is paid to help with your rent is referred to as housing costs.

The amount takes into account the amount of rent that you pay, any service charges that you pay and anyone who lives in the property who should be contributing towards the rent.

Some people are ignored and wouldn’t affect your housing costs, these include people who are:

•under 21 years old,

•in receipt of pension credit,

•entitled to the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate,

•entitled to Attendance Allowance,

•entitled to the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment,

•in receipt of carer’s allowance, a prisoner,

•responsible for a child under five years old.

In addition to these disregarded people, the DWP will also make no deductions if you (or your partner) were:

•registered as blind;

•entitled to the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate:

•entitled to Attendance Allowance;

•entitled to the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment;

If none of the above circumstances apply then a deduction of £72.16 per month is likely to be correct.

Q. I have just received a large amount of backdated benefit. I am on Employment and Support Allowance and they have gone back a number of years and said that I am entitled to a large lump sum due to their error when calculating my award. I am a little worried that when I next show them a bank statement which shows this large amount that it will end up stopping my benefits as it is over £16,000. Any advice on what I should do?

A. Arrears payments of benefits are always disregarded for 52 weeks, so it would never affect your benefits within the first year.

There is also a second rule which explains that where a lump sum of more than £5,000 is paid for arrears of benefit, this can be disregarded for the length of your benefit claim, if the arrears was due to official error; it would therefore be beneficial to have something in writing to confirm that the payment was made due to the DWP’s error.