Collusive Separation

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    Having some difficulty identifying the relevant legislation relating to collusive separation, can anyone assist?

    Many thanks!


    We were all to shy say that we don’t know what “collusive separation” means.

    I googled it and found some information on Taunton Deane Council’s web site about LTAHAW fraud. Collusive separation is defined on that site as a fraud involving a gfalse declaration to the effect that a couple have separated, when in reality they haven’t. Am I getting warm?

    If so, there is no specific legislation. Lying about anything to do with benefits is really only a concern where it is done with a view to obtaining more benefit than you would be entitled to if you told the truth. Having a partner in itself does not reduce benefit – quite the opposite, you get a higher applicable amount. Therefore, collusive separation is only an issue where the concealed partner has income or capital that would decrease or remove entitlement to benefit. It’s a function of the means test. So the legislation you are after is the regular stuff on aggregation. In particular, s136(1) of the Conts and Bens Act provides for aggregation of the income and capital of the “family”; s137 defines “family”, and from that definition you will be cross-referred to other definitions, also in s137, of “couple”. Your task is to demonstrate the following:

    – that your claimant and his/her partner are in reality living as a couple in a way that satisfies s137
    – they are therefore a family
    – their income and capital should therefore be aggregated
    – if one of them has got lots of income and capital, their benefit should be reduced/stopped

    If your claimant, who purports to be single, is on a passport benefit, it gets more complicated. But am I on the right lines up to here?


    This generally happens when a couple have been on benefit and one gets work, rather than lose the benefit they pretend that they’ve separated. The difference to LTAHAW is that this can apply to married couples too.

    It’s often a repeating pattern where one or the other does contract or seasonal work and they’re forever splitting up and getting back together when it suits them.

    An interview can be based around the normal LTAHAW questions.


    irene lowe

    I remember this term from my fraud days some years ago, from my recollection it derived from the DWP’s collusive desertion and is much as Peter describes it – in my own experience i have found couples who have are having financial difficulties and have found it cost effective to separate in order that one of the parties can claim benefits whilst the other works to pay off their debts – in a similar senario couples choose but not to L/T as again one of the parties have debts/loans which they could not afford if they lived together – the other would lose benefit.
    Did have one case where the husband worked on the gas rigs in the North Sea whilst his wife claimed income support -did not find this out till they tried to purchase their large council house under the “right to buy”, in cash!! but to all intents and purposes she claimed they had separated.

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