Hi all,

I'm just wondering if any if you can help please. My Sisters Partner was assaulted in July he has been in a coma ever since, although he is showing more and more signs of recovery as each day passes,he had started to say words and follow a few commands but it's going to be a long journey to recovery. My Sister works 30 hours per week, is currently pregnant, due in February and has a 2 1/2 year old too. She has spoke to DWP and CAB and is no clearer about what benefits or help she is entitled to. Apparently she isn't entitled to child tax credits or working tax credits because of their earnings last year...surely their time of need is now not last year???

Can she not claim any benefits on behalf of her partner whilst he's in recovery? Surely she would be entitled to mortgage help and council tax because she would get this help if she was a single parent wouldn't she???

I can't quite believe how difficult and what a minefield our benefits system is, as if things are bad enough for her at the moment!

Any advice would be greatly received, I want to help my sister as much as I can xx

9 Replies

  • My heart goes out to your sister as not only is she having to deal with the distress, upset and fear of what has happened to her partner and how his future may be, alongside she is pregnant, has another youngster to care for, is working but also trying to manage the worrying financial pressures the situation has thrown them into. I can relate to the financial fear situation because I was for a while told I was not entitled to anything even though there was only me bringing in an income and then I was seriously ill and subsequently have a BI and i was responsible for my home and my young son (5 yrs Old at the time). I adopted him as a single parent so there was no other income even from an absent father! Being a single parent certainly for me did not access me into income support, council tax reductions (other than the single adult occupate that I already got but no further reduction), mortgage payments etc because it was all means tested and I had slightly more than the allowed amount in savings. I had put that little bit of money in savings when I left my salaried job in the NHS as I was changing to be self employed as a foster carer with no pension scheme etc so I was planning ahead for my retirement in years to come. However, that little bit of savings meant I wasn't entitled to any means tested benefits unless I spent it and went below the entitlement threshold. As I was self employed I wasn't entitled to Statutory sick pay and initially was told I couldn't even get ESA however this was wrong advice and after about 6 months I did manage to get this - but it is not a lot! Having always lived within my means I was terrified of going into the red and into dept and losing my home that I had worked so hard to get. I am assuming that if your sister cannot get income support it is because like me they have too much savings. I think if she contacted the mortgage company that for a period of time she can just pay the interest. If her partner is not entitled to statutory sick pay then he may be entitled to ESA but I am not sure if being in hospital would mean he couldn't claim it as yet as I know some benefits stop when people are in hospital so his entitlement may not start until home. However, ESA takes a long time to apply and process so if he was entitled he would not receive it for some months (although it does get back paid to when the form was submitted). The tax credits would be dependent on how much they are still earning I think - your sisters wages and any Statutory sick pay her partner gets if he is entitled. The sick pay would drop after 6 months so there entitlement may change then?? However, tax credits entitlement are still dependent on amount of income being earn't and maybe at the moment your sisters income is still higher than the entitlement threshold. It is a dreadful situation to be thrown into as we all live with our financial outgoings based on our incomes and when one income suddenly ceases and dramatically decreases ends don;t meet anymore.

    Sorry there isn't anything I have said that can help you other than explaining I've been in that situation too and it was terrifying and infuriating. Maybe give the Headway Helpline a call to see if there is anything they can advise??

  • Hi. I had my B/I in 1998 at the age of 32. Yes the Benefit System is very difficult. I have had to take early retirement due to ill health, i can offer you some help if required?? You/family have plenty on you plate currently.

    Please let me know if I can help??


  • Hi, I seem to keep suggesting that People contact their local Headway or Carers organisation via Carers Trust.

    They often have people who can help you, or your sister, access benefits, and know of grants that may be available.

    Unfortunately working and child tax credits are based on what you earnt last year, stupid in my opinion!

    There are potentially grants available, some mortgages will let you take a Holiday from payments for up to a year, sometimes you will have an insurance that covers an illness like this that you were not aware of. Some life policies not only cover the worst outcome but serious illness too, worth checking.

    Carers allowance is worth looking at, free school meals if appropriate, one off grants from organisations like the Triangle Trust which you can search online.

    Thinking of you and your sister at the moment, I know how hard it is worrying about money as well as a loved ones health. Hope you get some results soon. x

  • Thank you to all that have replied to my post, I really am grateful. There's lots of info I can take away and hopefully help my Sister. I like to think this is an area where I can take some of the burden and sort as much as possible, then she just needs to dot the I's and cross the T's. She makes me proud everyday at how she is managing to deal with this terrible situation. Thanks again and I hope I can return your kindness in the future x

  • My family fell into that same predicament. I had my accident in February, we applied for tax credits in September, by which point we were in a homeless unit, we were told our previous years earnings were too high. We had to wait until April when they paid us ridiculous amounts of cash.

    The mortgage insurance can pay your fees for a while, if you have a low income you may get help for prescription cost, school lunches etc. you may get some income support based on income but it's more likely that if he was working prior to the accident it will be contributions based. This meant that we had to apply for everything as there are no passports to other benefits when based on contributions.

    It's was difficult at the time but we did make it thru to the other side.

    I wish your family well

  • My lifesavers were the payment protection policies, which after a few months took care of the credit card payments (completely in the end, as I never recovered), the monthly mortgage endowment, and my life insurance payment, really helping to reduce the big bills. We had to take far more drastic steps including downsizing in the end as household income went down by 60 per cent and there is not a lot else you can do in the face of such an assault - but other than PIP for disability, the benefits system has been nothing other than a nightmare, which is common for people who have either had a well paid job before illness, or got savings.

    It is a shame her CAB has not been more helpful, but unfortunately that may well be because the bar which rules you out of assistance is (contrary to what you mght read in the Daily Wail) set very low indeed and certainly doesn't seem well placed to deal with the initial crisis.

    I hope the other non-benefits ideas will help. They may have to wait for benefits help until the situation is more stable, and her partner is out of hospital.

  • Why your sister's partner is unable to act for himself she may need to become his appointee (an arrangement made at the Jobcentre) and should be able to claim Employment Support Allowance for him. She maybe able to claim Council Tax Benefit and her local Council should be able to help her. I got my information from this link

  • Also perhaps your sister could take someone with her to the CAB or the DWP to help her understand what benefits she is due?

  • Nic f my circumstances are reversed because of my ni contributions for 2013/14 werent enough im not entitled to esa. you say partner are you married?

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