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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am in receipt of Income Support as a disabled single parent.

Customer Question

I am in receipt of Income Support as a disabled single parent. A compliance officer visited me yesterday and asked if my boyfriend ever stayed over. I told her he never stayed more than 15 times a year. She then asked if I saw him every day and if I cooked him dinner! As it happens I don't see him every day and, due to my disability, I am unable to cook proper dinners, so only do so occasionally with his help. Am I only allowed to see him so many times a week and is there a problem if I was to cook him dinner a couple of times a week?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Have you had an overpayment?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, but she wanted to see all evidence of my savings etc since about three months before the start of my present claim to date (I came off IS for a year as I had a large inheritance and my new claim went before a Complex Decision Maker before I was able to claim IS again). They have had all this evidence before apart from the dates from June 2012 until now. They now want it all again which is no problem, but seems such a waste when all they really should need is from June 2012 until now.


The above information is not really relevant to my initial question which was is there a limit to the amount of days each week I can see my boyfriend and am I allowed to cook him dinner a couple of days a week? Obviously, I can only cook him dinner with his help anyway due to my disability.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
There isn't a limit per se but you are in difficulty I'm afraid.

The compliance officer was trying to show that you were sharing expenses with your partner. You don't have to actually live together all the time to be sharing expenses within the meaning of the Social Security legislation.

Unfortunately there is no clear limit on the amount of times a person can stay over. Its a general impression of their circumstances.

Probably they have received some form of anonymous tip off that he is staying or there otherwise fairly regularly.

You are free to see him as often as you like. The issue lies in cooking meals together, sharing accounts, staying over, sharing food and utilities supplies etc.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



The Compliance Officer actually came round primarily to check on my financial situation. She wanted copies of bank accounts etc. My boyfriend only came into the equation because my children sometimes give me their housekeeping, and any other monies they owe me, in cash. As I am unable to get to the bank due to my disability, my boyfriend pays this money into his account and then we transfer it over to my account via the internet. He doesn't go anywhere near my bank so this seemed to be the easiest way to do things. When she saw his name on one of the transactions, she asked who he was etc. I have no other way of getting the money into my bank. She told me that I need to fully explain this by way of a covering letter when I send in all the rest of the statements she requires. In view of all this hassle, I will ask the children to pay their money directly from their accounts into mine in future, although my daughter in particular, prefers to give me cash.


I should also mention that my boyfriend sometimes get things from the shops for me when he is out. In exchange, I order things off the internet for him. He then puts the money he owes me into my bank account, hence I know there will be a lot of things I will need to explain, although I can prove everything I have bought on his behalf quite legitimately.


Had his name not appeared on any financial transactions, she would not even have known of his existence as she was more concerned about two savings accounts (one of which is now closed) and an ISA I closed a long time ago. They already knew the savings account and the ISA were closed as it was mentioned in a letter I sent to them when I had used some more of my savings. As they then increased my Income Support accordingly, they obviously received the letter!


As I previously stated, we do not share any expenses whatsoever. He only stays over a few days a year (15 would be excessive), we don't cook meals together, share accounts, food or utilities.


Thank you so much for all your help. I was just a bit baffled by her question regarding how often I see him and whether I cook him meals. I do not see him every day and we would only eat here together on very rare occasions, usually by way of a takeaway meal where we would share the cost.


As a matter of interest, up until about 18 months ago, my boyfriend was employed as my Personal Assistant (I have a care package provided by Social Services), so would have had to be round here to do his job each day! Due to him then becoming very busy in his full-time job, he had to resign and I now have another Personal Assistant.


Thank you, once again.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.