Voluntary payments or what?

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    Our Appeals officer has a case she would like some opinions on.

    Unemployed claimant was receiving a “training allowance” to attend a JobCentre+ training programme.

    He stopped going to the course and has had his Training Allowance/JSA stopped for “…failing to attend reasonable training etc etc” – leaving him with no income.

    His girlfriend – who does not live with him and works full-time – is supporting him from her income.

    Claimant wants us to treat this income as “Voluntary Payments” and fully disregard it.

    Our Appeals officer feels this would give him unfairly generous treatment for this income.

    Wonder if someone can fully maintain their boyfriend without getting anything in return ….no I’m not being rude! 😉 – its one of the defining characteristics of a voluntary payment. This scenario does seem rather different to the example of a man paying for the upkeep of their nephew’s car (often quoted in guidance).

    Any thoughts, opinions, case-law about Voluntary payments??? and how to distinguish between them and e.g. maintenance or payments from a third party etc.


    If the girlfriend has any sense, this arrangement won’t last very long!

    Are you absolutely certain they aren’t partners? Reg 2 only defines a partner as a member of a married or unmarried couple, with no requirement that they be physically living in the same property…… I think an arrangement like this presents a strong argument that they are in fact partners……


    Hi Ann

    Partners – interesting idea – we’ll have a think about that.

    Any more suggestions anyone…….?


    A married or unmarried couple must be members of the same household (ie living together). This is because of the definition in S137 of the SSCBA.

    You can NOT treat these two as partners if they are not living together, so you must therefore treat the payments made by the girlfriend as voluntary payments

    Stephen Murray

    How about R(H) 5/05 http://www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/docs/commdecs/

    does that help/hinder your case?


    Thanks both – I’ve passed the info onto our Appeals officer

    Keep ’em coming…


    Actually Stephen that commissioner’s decision was bang-on.

    It looks like we ought to be treating the payments as voluntary according to the arguments accepted in this case.

    Seems a bit odd though – get yer girlfriend to pay all your living expenses and get the public purse to ignore it and pick up yer housing costs. Oh well – as long as the law is happy.



    When your appeals officer next interviews this bloke, do you think he could ask him how he managed to talk his girlfriend into doing this? 😆 8)
    (All hints greatfully accepted – as long as my girlfriend does not read this board!! 😯 😉 )

    Andy Thurman

    You don’t really want to go down that route – I once had a girlfriend do similar for me (no HB claim involved as she also let me move into her flat rent free). 🙄 😆 Lucky boy?!
    Maybe, BUT, we’re now married with kids & I have to earn enough for all!!! 🙄 😉 In retail they call it “buy now, pay later”! 8)


    I take it your girlfriend doesn’t read this board either then Andy? 😳 8) 😯 😀

    Andy Thurman

    I hope not 😳
    Still, as my wife is so wonderful 8) with such a rich sense of humour 😉 I’m sure that she would appreciate the joviality. 8)
    (That’s the bases covered 😉 )

    Some insight from my experience – I did have to claim JSA for a few weeks just after I’d met my wife (& before I moved in!). Having just met, we were in no way “LTAHAW” and were maintaining our own addresses but I did get the odd ‘hand out’ during this period – more in ‘kind’ in my case as it was usually in pint format or a meal 😯 😳 .
    So, if you’re considering the partner aspect (Sorry Stainsby – your post surely over-simplifies things – HB can actually be paid for a married/unmarried couple occupying different addresses if one a student/trainee & etc….), I’d be looking to see much more proof than these otherwise voluntary payments. 🙂


    At the risk of analysing to the Nth degree, where unmarried couples occupy difrent addresses, they are to be treated as a couple only where the absence is temporary. There is a Northern Irealnd decision R1/01 (IS) where it was held that temporary absence may not last for more than 52 weeks. Absence lasting more than 52 weeks should be considered to be permanent

    There is another decision (CIS/671/1992 )where the man lived in the same nursing home, were married to each other, but were held not to be a couple because they both suffered from dementia and so could not maintain the same household as neither of them could carry out what would normally be held to be houshold duties.

    The two people in the present case have not set up a household and so cannot be temporarily absent since they have not yet got together as such

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