Living With A Partner

There is little difference between living together, being married or being in a civil partnership (currently only available to same sex couples) when being assessed for entitlement to most welfare benefits, working tax credits or child tax credits.

You will be expected to claim as a couple and the income, savings and financial needs of both parties are taken into account. If simply living together you cannot claim bereavement benefits for the death of your partner or a relevant pension based on their national insurance contributions.

There are however significant differences between living together, being married or being in a civil partnership for legal rights. Generally you will have fewer rights if you live together without being married or in a civil partnership. Living together has no legal definition but usually means living as a couple without being married or in a civil partnership. You can make a living together agreement or cohabitation contract if you wish to make a living together arrangement more formal.

For more information see  LIVING TOGETHER.


You count as living together if you and your partner share the same house as a couple. Your partner can be the same or opposite gender. Examples of being classified as living together are:

  • You sleep, eat and live together at the same address all the time
  • You both use the same joint bank account
  • You both have the same address on your driving licences ( unless you have split from your partner but have not moved out)
  • Your personal belongings are kept at the same address


Generally you do NOT count as living together for welfare benefits purposes if the following examples apply:

  • You stay over at your partner’s house most nights but still have your own home for which you pay rent etc and where you keep your personal possessions
  • You both have different addresses on your driving licences
  • You still live with your ex-partner for financial reasons but lead separate lives, including sleeping in separate rooms, buying food and eating separately, doing laundry separately and paying your share of rent/mortgage and other household bills
  • Have separate bank accounts
  • You are making a new claim for benefits as a single person


If you decide to move in with your partner and live together and are receiving any of the following means-tested benefits:

  • Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit

your benefits might be reduced because your partner’s earnings and savings will be added to yours when working out your new entitlements.


You need to advise the relevant  department (DWP, HMRC or your local authority) of your change in circumstances immediately. If you are receiving Bereavement Allowance following the death of your previous spouse or civil partner this will stop when you move in with your new partner.

For more information see LIVING TOGETHER.


Here to help – just ask.


Both Radcliffe on Trent Advice Centre and Bingham Advice Service can provide additional help and support and help you complete forms.

Contact us here