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Student non deps UC

nottsadvisor
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Welfare rights - Nottingham City Council

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My client has 4 non dependant deductions from her UC housing costs for adult children all of who are FT students aged over 21.  One lives at the property full time but the others are in student accomodation which they pay rent for, however they do come home in the holidays and keep some possessions there.

Can I argue that the three who are away should not be counted - I cannot seem to find any information about this situation anywhere. 

Va1der
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Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

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They should only be counted as resident for any period where it is their only residence. I.e. they could visit in the summer and still not be counted if they still pay rent to their student accommodation.

MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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Once a student (under 21) moves into non student accommodation (shared house) but still comes home for the holidays can they still be treated as normally residing at home for the purposes of an extra bedroom or are they treated as residing elsewhere?

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/798301/admf3.pdf

Paragraph F3034 gives the DM discretion to decide either way (which is very unsatisfactory)

You need to consider also whether disregarding the student would reduce the eligible rent (due to reduced number of bedrooms required) which may actually be worse for the claimant than the non dependant deduction.

MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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Hi, that might apply to HB but on UC there is no NDD for anyone under 21.  So aren’t you having your cake and eating it if you argue student is normally residing in family home to have extra bedroom but no deduction as under 21?

Ruth Knox
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RAISE Benefits Advice Team, Liverpool

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It seems to me that the legal starting point is R(H) 8/09. This used the old HB regulation 5 - later 7 -  to assess whether a non-dependent was temporarily absent.  The decision was that the regulation for claimants would also be the regulation for non-dependents - i.e. that a temporary absence of 13 weeks or less (52 in some circs) meant that they were still occupying the dwelling as their home.  For UC the equivalent regulation has a 6 months’ period for temporary absence - so almost all students would come within this as terms are less than 6 months in most cases.  So then the question arises as to whether it was their full-time home in the first place and this is where I think the assessment of where mail is sent, they keep their possessions, registered with GP or electoral register etc come in.  I think F3035 is a bit misleading as, if they do meet that criteria then the family home is where they occupy as their home.  I can’t see that paying rent over the summer is relevant except in the case where they actually live there all the year round and the tests on mail, registering with GP, possessions etc are not met for the family home.  (in fact, an awful lot of student landlords require half or full rent over the summer to have a place in term-time).

When it was a question of HB, yes, we definitely had our cake and ate it and a good thing too -  students exempt from non-dependent deductions and parents entitled to an additional room for Bedroom tax purposes.  The same is true for UC, so long as the student is under 21.  So in a normal situation I see no problems at all with any under-21 students being considered to live at home for Bedroom tax purposes and not having any non-dependent deductions.  As far as i can see that is the legal position.