Reply To: SDP – Non-Dep student living away from home.

Peter Barker

The problem here is that a non-dependant is someone who “normally resides” with the claimant, while a bedroom is included for someone who occupies the dwelling as their home for the purpose of Reg 7. If you want to allow a bedroom but keep the SDP, you need “reside” and “occupy” to mean different things. This is not only a problem during vacations either: if there is a bedroom included all year round because the non-dep normally occupies the dwelling but is temporarily absent, you need this state of affairs to coexist with the non-dep not normally residing with the claimant during term time.

If I was arguing this one for the claimant, I would seize on the word “with” – I would argue that the student does not normally reside *with* the claimant because they are studying away and the claimant and non-dep are in physically different places, so not sharing accommodation in the way Reg 3 describes. I would then try to distinguish this from “occupy” and argue that the student still normally occupies the claimant’s home, where the connection is with the dwelling rather than the other person, so he could still have a bedroom included.

However, if I was going to succeed with that argument I would have to get past – this is a UT case that says “normally reside” and “normal home” mean the same thing. While the use of the term “normal home” under scrutiny here was in Reg 74(7)(a) rather than Reg 7, I think the case makes it extremely difficult to run the kind of argument suggested above.

I would say that it’s either a bedroom and no SDP all year round, or it’s an SDP but no bedroom all year round