Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

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Son_of_Shinobi
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Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Son_of_Shinobi » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:46 pm

Ok, where to start. Have sadly been unemployed for over 12 months, which means I have to attend a training provider for job-club and one-on-one chats about finding work....all very boring. However, several months ago I met a spanish lady who is also on the course - her situation is slightly different, her options for work are more limited due to the language barrier and the fact her english is quite average at present.

I took the liberty of asking her out, and we have been going out ever since. Now thankfully the language barrier is not a problem as I'm fluent in spanish, and it gets better still, we have so much in common, shes a keen and avid gamer and also into heavy metal music and manga amongst other things. She is totally stunning too, so my world has been rocked.

However, she really doesn't like where she is living as it is a very small town and very boring...she has lived their for the past few years and wants to move to London......and really wants me to go with too. I would be happy to take a chance and see what happens and my brother lives up there too, so it could be fun.

However, if their is one thing I have no idea about, it's how we would find a place together. We are both very aware that ts going to be very expensive, but also as we are both currently on Jsa and with her currently in receipt of housing benefit or whatever its called nowadays - we don't know how we would be able to find a place together as I don't think we could both claim housing benefit while living in the same property. I am guessing that if the house-share comprised of individual flats/rooms and we found one with two seperate rooms then it wouldn't be a problem as we could both technically claim as the rooms are seperate and the landlord would charge rent for each room individually.

But other than that, I have no idea how we would be able to find a place and for us to still be getting benefit.

Hope someone can help, and if not I'll try citizens advice. Thanks

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RetroBob
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by RetroBob » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:09 pm

I have no idea, was just going to suggest CAB and then you mentioned it. My only general advice would be, live somewhere you can afford.

Congrats on the relationship :-)
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Antiriad2097
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:41 pm

Son_of_Shinobi wrote:I don't think we could both claim housing benefit while living in the same property. I am guessing that if the house-share comprised of individual flats/rooms and we found one with two seperate rooms then it wouldn't be a problem as we could both technically claim as the rooms are seperate and the landlord would charge rent for each room individually.
It doesn't work like that.

Benefits (be that JSA, housing, whatever) are assessed not on where you sleep, but how you live.

Many couples, for many reasons, sleep in separate bedrooms. There's more to it than having your own room.

Typically in cases like this, someone will visit to assess the living arrangements. They'd be looking at the layout of the house/flat, where things are kept, what facilities and functions are shared/separate etc. Basically whether you're trying to pull a fast one by living as a couple but pretending not to just because there are two rooms, whether you actually sleep in them or not. If you're sharing closet space, cooking, cleaning, and all the other mundane things that couples do, then you will be perceived as a couple. To avoid this, there has to be a very clear separation of belongings and tasks. While inevitably as 'friends' there will be the odd cooked meal, they'll be looking at the normal routine.

Essentially, you get one lot of housing benefit for one household. That may encapsulate 2 rooms, I'm not sure, I'm not terribly familiar with housing benefits, but worth asking more about, it may depend on whether others share the house etc.

JSA may be a bigger problem, since instead of getting one amount each, you could end up getting a couples allowance which is significantly less (and rightly so, since much of the expenditure is only used once - i.e. running one fridge, one cooker, one set of lighting etc for the shared house instead of bills for two houses).

Regardless of that, you should get what you're entitled to. As a couple, since you openly state you've been together for some time. Bearing in mind the cost of living, London may not be the best idea. Perhaps another large city? By all means try London, but don't consider it the only option.

I guess the upside is that neither of you are tied to a job so it's relatively easy to move wherever you want without that tie.

Oh, and a further thought. There's a common misconception that if you live in separate houses, you can't be considered a couple. For JSA, that isn't true. There's the mythological 'but he only stays one or two nights a week' rule commonly quoted by punters. If you are spending a significant portion of time at your partner's house (or vice versa), sharing domestic duties, then you can be assessed as a couple. Just so you know you have nothing to lose by moving in together wherever you choose, since the inevitable cuts could happen if you're caught anyway. Food for thought.

But do get professional advice. Mine is now a distant memory loosely quoted and may have changed, but how I understood it to be back then and I'm not aware of any reason why they'd change it since it saves them money.
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psj3809
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by psj3809 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:18 am

Granted i'm getting my knowledge from watching these benefits programs (!) but i cant see you getting a place in London for quite some time, seems to be a lack of houses plus they also seem to be moving a fair few families out. Why should they pay a huge rent for you in London when they can pay a much smaller rent outside of London ? Wouldnt make sense to get you a place in London. As Retrobob says live somewhere which you can afford

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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Matt_B » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:34 am

psj3809 wrote:Granted i'm getting my knowledge from watching these benefits programs (!) but i cant see you getting a place in London for quite some time, seems to be a lack of houses plus they also seem to be moving a fair few families out. Why should they pay a huge rent for you in London when they can pay a much smaller rent outside of London ? Wouldnt make sense to get you a place in London. As Retrobob says live somewhere which you can afford
It's probably not as bad as it seems if you're just a couple. Most of the families they're moving out tend to have a lot of kids and it's the combination of child benefits and high rents that's pushing them up against the 26K a year benefit cap. That might sound like a lot of money, but it'll only buy you a meagre standard of living in the capital right now.

Anyway, your chances of finding work in London should be greatly improved as there are loads of jobs available right now, so you might not be needing benefits too much longer if you come here.

Son_of_Shinobi
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Son_of_Shinobi » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:16 am

Thanks to the replys so far...my thoughts on them

@ Matt_B - One of the main reasons for London was the work and the fact we both thrive off the energy og very busy places. tbh - it was/is her idea, while Im more of a realist and know that its very expensive. We both want to work, and I have had long term employment, have a solid cv and great refs, so I think it would (should) be fairly easy for me to get some work, even if it is just basic office.

@psj - I disagree, there must be some plaves in London that are "affordable" even if they are probaby unfurnished, run down, in a bad state - so long as we have each other, not to fussy about where we live. We dont just mean central London, so there must be somewhere that is cheaper in general. A mate suggested Canning Town which I laughed and said no to immediately. I don't want the agro of a place that is too ruff and where there is high crime...

@retrobob - cheers mate!

@antiriad - I dont wanna sound like a d1ck, but I gisagree with a few of your points you raised, although I do appreciate them too. many years ago I moved into a fairly wealthy area..I found a large houseshare that comprised of 5 flats - each with a yale door lock. So, we each had individual rooms, which had a standard double bed and sink unit. There was a shared Cheap MDF rubbish, shared communal lounge area a shower and two bathrooms. At the time I was living there, I was thankfully working but after two years I was made redundant. Before I was made redundant, I started a relationship with one of the girls living there. Her work came to an end when her employer went bankrupt. So, after a while we were both claiming individual housing benefit and jsa. We were both being charged £360pcm all inclusive as we had seperate rooms - and we couldnt both stay in the house-share if only one of us was claiming - don't pay the rent, get evicted. Your comments on Jsa confuses me - the government classes jsa as what a person nees to live on for a two week period, stuff like food - and one Jsa for two people seems like an impossibility. The comments on running one fridge, cooker etc....surely stuff like that comes under the housing benefit, no?? Id sure include those as part of the rent costs.

Either way, I guess you are right - if I could convince her to change the London idea, maybe we could be happier in another big city, where its not as expensive. I like the idea but again with the reality check - the prospect is daunting. She has lived in London before, and when it came to work, she was able to get bog-standard cleaning work very quickly, someting that she has struggled to do up here so far to date.....she's a very proud person, but would do any type of work if it meant she was earning a wage.

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gman72
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by gman72 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:38 pm

Have you been unemployed for the majority of your adult life?
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Antiriad2097
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:15 pm

Son_of_Shinobi wrote:I dont wanna sound like a d1ck, but I gisagree with a few of your points you raised, although I do appreciate them too. many years ago I moved into a fairly wealthy area..I found a large houseshare that comprised of 5 flats - each with a yale door lock. So, we each had individual rooms, which had a standard double bed and sink unit. There was a shared Cheap MDF rubbish, shared communal lounge area a shower and two bathrooms. At the time I was living there, I was thankfully working but after two years I was made redundant. Before I was made redundant, I started a relationship with one of the girls living there. Her work came to an end when her employer went bankrupt. So, after a while we were both claiming individual housing benefit and jsa. We were both being charged £360pcm all inclusive as we had seperate rooms - and we couldnt both stay in the house-share if only one of us was claiming - don't pay the rent, get evicted. Your comments on Jsa confuses me - the government classes jsa as what a person nees to live on for a two week period, stuff like food - and one Jsa for two people seems like an impossibility. The comments on running one fridge, cooker etc....surely stuff like that comes under the housing benefit, no?? Id sure include those as part of the rent costs.
I doesn't matter whether you agree with them, them's the rules. Housing benefit only covers rent, the rest of your cash is JSA. People living as couples get less money from JSA. How you are assessed as living together is based on lifestyle, not rooms. You don't get half the cash, but it is reduced. I only tell from what I know having dealt with it for years. In your previous case, you got lucky as you weren't caught, which is surprisingly common. In reality, you should have been on couples rate JSA and our housing benefit would have remained as is. As a new punter in a new area though, someone might twig you've moved in at the same time, from the same previous town, and start asking questions. I only urge caution in case you find yourselves caught short. Plan for the worst, find out what a couple get on JSA these days, and use that as a possible budget. If you get more, then it's a bonus.

I won't pretend to agree with how JSA works all the time, but since you freely admit you're a couple, you should be claiming as one and just live in the one place. At least if the relationship goes belly up one of you can move out safe in the knowledge you'll get housing benefit for the new place and a return to previous JSA rates.

When you see a professional, ask about Living Together (LT), how it's assessed and how it affects benefits.
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Son_of_Shinobi
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Re: Relocating/Housing/Benefit Help needed please!

Post by Son_of_Shinobi » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:01 pm

gman72 wrote:Have you been unemployed for the majority of your adult life?
No, why? I've worked most of it....well, from 19 years old. Had three years after leaving school where I was just a bum. But have worked At least 18 of the last 20 years of my life

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