is this child a member of the household or not ?

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    We have a claim where the claimant and her ex-partner are jointly responsible for their child, The ex-partner is in receipt of the Child Benefit but our HB claimant is in receipt of Child Tax Credits, which she uses to pay for the child’s after school care and school lunches. The child shares his time equally between the 2 households. The ex-partner is not in receipt of Housing Benefit. The HB claimant has questioned the fact that Child Tax Credit has been used in the calculation of her Housing Benefit, but the child has not been included as a member of her household because she is not in receipt of Child Benefit.

    Any comments and suggestion will be appreciated.


    This type of query has come up a few times on this board – ultimately it is up to the Local Authority to decide where the child resides, and therefore whether or not they should be included as a member of the household.

    Common sense would indicate that the parents have made a decision on the financial arrangements and agreed that as they have joint responsibilty then one should have the CTC and the other the Child Benefit.

    You do not have to be in receipt of Child Benefit in order for the child to be included as a member of the household, this is useful though where the local authority has to make a decision on who has “primary responsibilty”.

    If I were dealing with this I would probably get something in writing from both parties as to whom they would suggest should be given “primary responsibility” for the purposes of HB – not to mention any referral to the rent officer if that is relevant.


    HB Reg 20(2):

    “Where a child or young person spends equal amounts of time in different households, or where there is a question as to which household he is living in, the child or young person shall be treated for the purposes of paragraph (1) as normally living with—

    (a) the person who is receiving child benefit in respect of him; or

    (b) if there is no such person—

    (i) where only one claim for child benefit has been made in respect of him, the person who made that claim, or

    (ii) in any other case the person who has the primary responsibility for him”

    HB Reg 20(3):

    “For the purposes of these Regulations a child or young person shall be the responsibility of only one person in any benefit week and any person other than the one treated as responsible for the child or young person under this regulation shall be treated as not so responsible.”


    Have a read of the Hockenjos case discussions.


    It may be useful to look at the High Court case R(Ford) v Board of the Inland Revenue. The Inland Revenue has similar provisions for determining who is responsible for a child as in HB/CTB. The judgement approves the guidlines used by the Inland Revenue and goes into it in some detail. I find it useful in that it provides a guide to the sort of questions we should be asking in order to make a decision.

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