Reply To: non dependant/dependant studying abroard

Peter Barker

You have got a few things to sort out here:

– Whether he satisfied the definition of a “qualifying young person” after reaching age 16 until his 20th birthday
– If he did, whether he was still a member of the claimant’s family for applicable amount purposes
– If LHA rate or bedroom tax is engaged here, the effect of him being absent from the home both as a dependant and later as a non-dependant

1. QYP

The main condition (and the only one he is likely to satisfy) in the Child Benefit Regs simply says this:

(a) is undertaking a course of full-time education, which is not advanced education and which is not provided by virtue of his employment or any office held by him—

(i) which is provided at a school or college

Child Benefit isn’t payable during periods when a QYP is absent from Great Britain for longer than 12 weeks, which could explain why no ChB was paid, but being absent doesn’t prevent him from being a QYP if the course was non-advanced. Or it could be that Child Benefit had investigated and concluded the course was not non-advanced. You’d need to find out more about the nature of the course.

2. Family

The applicable amount includes children/QYPs who belong to the “family”. “Family” is defined in s137 of the SSC&B Act 1992 as including a child or QYP who is a member of the “household” and for whom the claimant is “responsible”.

Reg 20 says the claimant is responsible for a child or QYP who normally lives with him/her – so you’d have to be satisfied that was still the case and the child had not established a normal home in Israel. And Reg 21 says someone ceases to be a member of a household after an absence of 52 weeks. It doesn’t sound as if the absence ever did exceed 52 weeks in this case – so if QYP child still normally lived with the claimant, he remained part of the family at all times until his 20th birthday – not the following September, the 20th birthday is the latest he can still be a QYP.

At this stage, Reg 7 and temporary absence from home are not engaged because that reg is concerned with occupation of the dwelling as a home. The rules around QYPs and applicable amounts do not rely on occupation of the dwelling specifically. Therefore the 4w limit from 2016 is not a problem in this case. Even if it was, there were transitional provisions for people currently absent on the day the regs were amended so you would probably not remove him from the calculation on the day of the amendment – it would be from the next absence. But anyway, that reg is not engaged. Unless …

3. Bedrooms

Here is where it gets messy. Both as a QYP and later as a non-dep, he no longer qualifies for a bedroom in the size criteria if his absence from GB exceeds 4 weeks. This means you can end up with contradictory treatment for applicable amount and eligible rent purposes. I vaguely recall this was considered in JP v Bournemouth [2018] AACR 30 – I mentioned it in a thread about a non-dep earlier this week. I’ll have to re-read that decision and see how it might apply in this case.