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Chapter E4: Universal Credit - Living together as a married couple

Contents
E4001:Introduction
E4005:DM's first consideration
Members of the same household
E4031:General
E4033:Two people living in one dwelling
E4035:Common factors associated with the existence of a household
E4036:Other considerations
E4038:Two people owning or renting other accommodation

Illegal relationships, prohibited or forbidden degrees of relationship and
multiple relationships
E4061:Illegal relationships
E4062:Prohibited or forbidden degrees of relationship
E4064:Multiple relationships
Meaning of living together as a married couple
E4091:General
E4097:Sexual relationship
E4098:The relationship of two people concerning money
E4100:General relationship
E4101:Stability
E4107:Children
E4108:Public acknowledgement
E4109:Future plans
Looking again at living together determinations
E4151:Temporary absence of one party
E4152:Absence of one party expected to, or exceeds, 6 months
E4153:Permanent separation
E4154:Change in determination
E4155:Decision already given on a benefit other than UC
Prohibited or forbidden degrees for marriage/civil partnership .......... Appendix 1

Chapter E4: Universal Credit - Living together as a married couple

E4001 Introduction

The guidance in this chapter applies to UC and is to help the DM determine whether
two people who live together but are not
1. married to each other or
2. a civil partner of each other are
LTAMC.
Note: DMs should note that guidance on LTAMC for benefits other than UC is in
DMG Chapter 11.

E4002

"Couple"
means (1)
1. two people who are married to, or civil partners of, each other and are
members of the same household or
2. two people who are not married to, or civil partners of, each other but are
LTAMC.

1 WR Act 12, s 39(1)

E4003

The general principle in SS legislation is that couples, be they married or unmarried,
should be treated in a similar way.

E4004

From 5.12.05 two people of the same sex can form a civil partnership by registering
as civil partners of each other (1).
1 CP Act 2004

E4005 DM's first consideration E4006 E4006

The DMs first consideration in deciding whether two people are LTAMC must be
1. are the persons concerned members of the same household? (see E4031 et
seq) or
2. would a relationship between the persons concerned be illegal, prohibited,
forbidden or a multiple relationship? (see E4061 et seq).

E4006

If
1. the answer to E4005 1. is `no' or
2. the answer to E4005 2. is `yes'
then two people cannot be treated as LTAMC.

[E4007-E4030]

Members of the same household

E4031 General E4005

Two people who are neither married to each other nor a civil partner of each other
must be members of the same household if they are to be treated as LTAMC and
thus a couple.

E4032

Household is not defined in legislation. It should be given its normal everyday
meaning. It is a domestic establishment containing the essentials of home life.
Household and home are not the same (1). Household may refer to people held
together by a particular kind of tie, even if temporarily separated (2).
1 R(SB) 4/83; 2 Santos v Santos [1972] All ER 246

E4033 Two people living in one dwelling E4035

To be members of the same household means that
1. two people live in the same house, flat, apartment, caravan or other dwelling
place and neither normally lives in another household and
2. they both live there regularly, apart from absences necessary for employment,
to visit relatives, etc.

E4034

However, examples of two people living in one dwelling but not necessarily living
together in the same household include
1. lodgers or students who necessarily share a single gas/electricity supply etc
and who may have an arrangement to share costs for items such as food and
cleaning materials or
2. two people who are married to each other or who are civil partners of each
other who separate and refuse to leave the home.

E4035 Common factors associated with the existence of a household

The DM must consider all the circumstances of a case in deciding whether two
people are members of the same household. In addition to E4033, there are other
factors commonly associated with a household which should be explored. These
factors have been identified in cases dealing with whether married couples, who
claim to be estranged, are still living in the same household, but they may also
indicate the existence of a shared household occupied by an unmarried couple. The
DM should consider evidence relating to the following when making a finding as to
whether a household exists
1. the circumstances in which the two people came to be living in the same
house;
2. the arrangements for paying for the accommodation;
3. the arrangements for the storage and cooking of food;
4. the eating arrangements (whether separate or not);
5. the domestic arrangements such as cleaning, gardening and minor household
maintenance;
6. the financial arrangements (who pays which bills? is there a joint bank
account? whose name is shown on utility bills?) ;
7. evidence of family life.

E4036 Other considerations

The fact that two people, who are not married to each other, are members of the
same household does not necessarily mean that they are LTAMC and so a couple.
A relationship may resemble LTAMC but consideration of its origins may show it to
be something quite different. Additionally, the DM should consider
1. the facts and circumstances that exist while the couple are living together (1)
and
2. what their future plans are.

1 R(G) 1/79

E4037

Such a relationship may not be classed as LTAMC (1) where, for example, the need for
care or support is the main reason. It is not only the reason that caused the parties
to live together which is important, but the facts and circumstances that apply after
they have done so (see E4091 - E4109 for further guidance).
1 R(SB) 35/85

Example

Louise had always lived with her mother, Carol. Andy was the son of Carol's oldest
school friend, Maggie and was known to Louise since childhood. Andy had been
injured in an accident some years ago and was confined to a wheelchair. Maggie
was his carer. Carol went to live abroad and Louise remained in her mother's house
alone. When Maggie died, Andy was faced with the need to find another carer. After
talking over the situation, Louise agreed to become Andy's carer. As Louise and
Andy lived 75 miles away from each other, it was decided that Louise would move
into Andy's home which had been specially adapted for his needs. The agreement
was that Louise would help Andy with dressing and cook his meals. Andy would pay
Louise 100 per week for this but she would not be required to contribute to the cost
of the rent. They maintained separate financial arrangements and the LA provided
assistance to Andy with cleaning, gardening and household maintenance. Louise
would take 3 weeks off during the year to visit her mother, whilst Andy remained at
home. Louise and Andy did not socialise together. The DM decided that Louise and
Andy were living in a shared household but were not LTAMC and therefore, not a
couple.

E4038 Two people owning or renting other accommodation

Even if one or both of the two people own or rent other accommodation, they can still
be thought of as members of the same household, particularly where the other
accommodation is seldom used. DMs should consider
1. the nature and ownership or tenancy of the accommodation they are living
together in and
2. the extent to which rooms and facilities are shared and
3. the ownership of furniture.
A person cannot be a member of more than one household at the same time. So a
person cannot be a member of more than one couple at the same time (1).
1 R(SB) 8/85

[E4039-E4060]

Illegal relationships, prohibited or forbidden degrees of relationship and multiple relationships

E4061 Illegal relationships E4005

DMs should not determine that two people are LTAMC if sexual intercourse between
them, whether it actually takes place or not, would involve committing a criminal
offence such as incest or sexual intercourse with an underage person. For example,
DMs should not determine that a man is LTAMC with a 15 year old girl or LTAMC
with a man he knows to be his brother.

E4062 Prohibited or forbidden degrees of relationship E4157

People living together within the prohibited or forbidden degrees of relationship for
marriage should be treated as not LTAMC. A list of the prohibited degrees is
included at Appendix 1 to this chapter. This list also applies to civil partnerships.

E4063 Multiple relationships

Where an unmarried person lives with a married couple, that person cannot be
LTAMC because a marriage is between two people. Similarly a person who lives
with a couple who are civil partners cannot be LTAMC with either of them.

E4064

The law does not recognize multiple relationships as it does polygamous marriages.
Where the term is used in this guide it means a situation where someone has a
relationship similar to marriage with more than one person, but is not married to any
of them. When considering whether two people are LTAMC their relationship is
compared with that of a married couple. Caselaw describes the elements that
feature in a marriage (see ADM E4094). One of these is exclusivity i.e. monogamy.
Where the claimant has a multiple relationship they cannot be LTAMC with any of
the other members of that relationship. Members of a multiple relationship are
treated as single claimants or, if appropriate, lone parents.

Example 1

Alan, Bronwyn and Carol live in the same household but no marriage exists between
either Alan and Bronwyn or Alan and Carol. Alan claims UC and states that he is in a
multiple relationship with both Bronwyn and Carol. Alan is treated as a single
claimant. Bronwyn and Carol are also treated as single.

Example 2

Alan, Bronwyn and Carol live in the same household. Alan is married to Bronwyn but
in his claim for UC states that he is also in a relationship with Carol. Alan is treated
as a member of a couple with his wife Bronwyn. Carol is treated as single.

Example 3

Andrew, Brian and Christopher live in the same household. Andrew is the civil
partner of Brian but in his claim for UC states that he is also in a relationship with
Christopher. Andrew is treated as a member of a couple with Brian. Christopher is
treated as single.

Example 4

Andrew, Brian and Christopher live in the same household. Andrew is married to
Brian but in his claim for UC states that he is also in a relationship with Christopher.
Andrew is treated as a member of a couple with Brian. Christopher is treated as
single.

Example 5

Abdul, Alkha and Fatima live in the same household and are parties to a
polygamous marriage. Alkha is Abdul's first wife and Fatima his second. Abdul and
Alkha are treated as a couple for the purposes of UC. However, Fatima is treated as
a single person for the purposes of UC.

[E4065-E4090]

Meaning of living together as a married couple

E4091 General E4037

The term LTAMC is not defined in legislation. It is for DMs to determine, on the
evidence, whether the whole relationship of two people who are not married to each
other, is comparable to that of a couple who are married (1)

1 R(G) 3/71

E4092

If two people are members of the same household and their relationship would not
be illegal, prohibited, forbidden or a multiple relationship, DMs should consider in
each case the points in E4093 and E4109 to determine whether the relationship
between them is the same as that of a married couple.

E4093 E4092

To be treated as LTAMC the relationship has to be the same as that of a married
couple. Marriage is where two people join together with the intention of sharing the
rest of their lives. There is no single template of what the relationship of a married
couple is. It is a stable partnership, not just based on economic dependency but also
on an emotional relationship of lifetime commitment rather than one of convenience,
friendship, companionship or the living together of lovers. If the evidence does not
suggest that it is more likely than not that the relationship between two people has
the emotional quality that characterizes a married couple's partnership, the DM
should find that they are not LTAMC.

E4094 E4064 E4095 E4096 E4156

All factors of their relationship have to be considered. The significance of each factor
can only be determined in the context of all of the factors with none being decisive.
There is more to the determination than the cold, observable facts. The
characteristics of the relationship may include (1)
mutual love
faithfulness
public acknowledgement
sexual
relations (2)
shared surname
children
endurance
stability
interdependence
devotion.

1 Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association; 2 R(G) 3/71; R(SB) 17/81

E4095 E4096 E4156

Not all of the characteristics in E4094 need be present and two people may be
treated as LTAMC even though the relationship is unsatisfactory or unhappy. DMs
should also consider
1. the relationship of the two people concerning money (1) and
2. the general relationship of the two people (2).

1 R(G) 3/71; R(SB) 17/81; 2 R(G) 3/71

E4096

In considering the points in E4094 and E4095 DMs should be aware that
1. no single point can decide the question of LTAMC (1). It is essential to have as
much information as possible on all the points to consider them as a whole;
2. where they are looking at a past period, the information gathered should relate
to the whole period in question;
3. a determination on whether two people are LTAMC must be based on the
evidence available;
4. they should obtain further evidence if living together is reported, to determine
if two people are LTAMC;
5. they can accept a signed statement or letter from the claimant saying that they
are LTAMC, as voluntary evidence of LTAMC;
6. they must obtain further evidence to determine when LTAMC began if a
disclosure of LTAMC is given after co-residence has begun and the statement
or letter does not cover the whole period of co-residence.
1 R(G) 1/71

E4097 Sexual relationship

A sexual relationship is an important part of a marriage and therefore of LTAMC. But
evidence of a sexual relationship does not, on its own, mean that two people should
be thought of as LTAMC. Mere lovers are not LTAMC. Similarly two people may be
LTAMC (1) without having a sexual relationship. However, if two people have never
had a sexual relationship, that is strong evidence that they are not LTAMC.
1 R(G) 2/72; R(G) 3/81; R(SB) 17/81

E4098 The relationship of two people concerning money

In most marriages it would be reasonable to expect financial support of one partner
by the other, or the sharing of household costs. DMs should consider the following questions
1. Is one person supported by the other?
2. How is the household income shared or used?
3. Are their resources pooled in a common fund? Is this all their income or only
the money, for example, shopping or bills?
4. Is one person bearing the major share of the household expenses, for
example mortgage, rent, gas, electricity? Whose name is on the bills?
5. Is there a joint purchase of the property or other mortgage arrangements?
6. Have these financial arrangements always been the same or have they
changed? If so how and when?
7. If there are no financial arrangements why not?
If any of the above applies over the long term, it could be an indication of LTAMC.
However, two people may be LTAMC even if they keep their finances completely
separate. The relationship of two people concerning money has to be looked at in
the context of the whole relationship.

E4199

DMs should find out about payments made for accommodation or board and lodging
arrangements. For example, a person may claim to be a lodger but the amount paid
may be unrealistic (1). A person who pays less than would be expected under a true
commercial board and lodge arrangement should not be regarded as a lodger. Such
an arrangement is more like that of a married couple.
1 R(G) 3/71

E4100 General relationship

The DM should consider why the two people became members of the same
household, how they share their lives now and their future plans. The stability of the
relationship, children and public acknowledgement can help to indicate what their
general relationship is particularly in respect of how they share their lives now. Other
evidence may include the existence of a degree of mutual interdependence, of the
sharing of lives, of caring and love and of commitment and support. Other important
factors include a readiness to support each other emotionally and financially, to care
for and look after each other in times of need and to provide a companionship in
which mutual interests and activities are shared and enjoyed together.

E4101 Stability

Because marriage is entered into as a stable relationship, DMs should consider the
stability of the relationship when determining whether two people are LTAMC.

E4102

Important signs of the relationship's stability include
1. the way in which two people spend their time together and
2. the way that this has changed while they have been together.

E4103 E4105

A couple usually do certain activities together or for one another, such as those
listed below. DMs could consider two people as LTAMC, if they do these activities
together or for one another, however it may not be conclusive.
1. providing meals and shopping;
2. cleaning and laundry;
3. caring for the members of the household during sickness;
4. decorating;
5. gardening;
6. caring for children.
This list is not complete. DMs should also consider the way in which two people
spend their leisure time and whether they take their holidays together.

E4104

A statement from two people that they want to marry or register as civil partners can
be regarded as proof of a stable relationship. Two people may be LTAMC (1) when
they have no intention to marry.

1 R(SB) 17/81

E4105

It is for DMs to determine at what point a relationship should be regarded as
LTAMC. The length of time two people have been together is not proof of the
stability of a relationship. There is no specified time limit in determining the stability
of the relationship and DMs should consider the following questions
1. is there strong evidence that they have been LTAMC from the time they began
living together, that would enable DMs to determine that LTAMC existed from
the outset?
2. are they living together as a temporary arrangement without commitment on
either side? If so, DMs might determine they are not LTAMC
3. to what extent do they both take responsibility for the activities listed at ADM
E4103? Where there is doubt about the stability, DMs might determine two
people were not LTAMC.

E4106

DMs should not assume a stable relationship exists just because two people have
been LTAMC on a previous occasion.

E4107 Children

When two people are caring for a child they have had together, there is strong
evidence that they are LTAMC. DMs can also consider
1. a man acting as father to a woman's children or
2. the woman acting as mother to the man's children or
3. one of two people of the same sex caring for the other person's children or
4. two people of the same sex caring for a child they have adopted together or
5. two people of the same sex caring for a child(ren) under a court order that
gives them parental responsibility
as evidence that they are LTAMC.

E4108 Public acknowledgement

If two people have represented themselves openly and unequivocally to others as
spouses, this is an indication that they are LTAMC. Examples of where such
representation could be made are
1. on the electoral register;
2. in claiming benefits;
3. in obtaining accommodation;
4. if their friends and neighbours accept them as a married couple or civil
partners and that the relationship is one of a permanent intent;
5. if one person has assumed the other person's surname.

E4109 Future plans E4037 E4092

Marriage or civil partnership is where two people join together with the intention of
sharing the rest of their lives. When considering whether two people are LTAMC
their plans for the future can provide important evidence. For example, two friends
sharing accommodation will rarely have the intention to share accommodation for
the rest of their lives but two people who are LTAMC would be expected to have the
intention of sharing their lives together in the long term.

[E4110-E4150]

Looking again at living together determinations

E4151 Temporary absence of one party

Subject to E4152, a couple should not automatically be regarded as having stopped
LTAMC just because of the temporary absence of one of the parties. When DMs
determine whether LTAMC (1) continues during a temporary absence, the reason for
the absence is an important factor. Absences for the following reasons would not
normally mean that the couple have stopped LTAMC
1. work;
2. a period as a hospital in-patient;
3. holiday;
4. a visit to a relative(s);
5. higher education (2).
1 R(G) 11/59; R(SB) 19/85; 2 R(SB) 30/83

E4152 Absence of one party expected to, or exceeds, 6 months E4151

Where the claimant is a member of a couple and the other member is temporarily
absent from the claimant's household, they cease to be treated as a couple if that
absence is expected to, or exceeds, 6 months (1).
1 UC Regs, reg 3(6)

Example 1

Huw and Isobel are LTAMC and in receipt of UC. Isobel is involved in a road
accident and is admitted to hospital with life-threatening injuries. She needs
prolonged treatment and rehabilitation and is expected to be in hospital for about 8
months. The DM treats Huw and Isobel as no longer LTAMC from the date of
Isobel's admission to hospital.

Example 2

Louie and David are LTAMC and in receipt of UC. David obtains work abroad and
has a contract of employment for 18 months. The DM treats Louie and David as no
longer LTAMC from the date that David goes abroad.

Example 3

Ed and Melanie are LTAMC and in receipt of UC. Melanie's mother, Cathy, lives in
Spain and Melanie hasn't seen her for 2 years. Cathy receives an inheritance and
tells Melanie that she will buy her a plane ticket, if she would like to pay a visit.
Melanie accepts her mother's offer and leaves the UK for a 4 week period. As the
absence is for less than 6 months, Ed and Melanie continue to be treated as a
couple whilst Melanie is in Spain.

E4153 Permanent separation

LTAMC stops when there is a permanent separation of the couple. DMs should
accept evidence that one of a couple has left permanently, unless there are reasons
for doubt. In which case, more evidence will be needed.

E4154 Change in determination

A decision awarding UC to a single person should be
1. revised
or
2. superseded
if it is later determined that they were, or are now, LTAMC.
Note: ADM Chapter A3 contains further guidance on revision for UC purposes and
ADM Chapter A4 contains further guidance on supersession for UC purposes.

E4155 Decision already given on a benefit other than UC

Where it is known that a decision incorporating a determination on LTAMC may
have been made on a claim for a benefit other than UC, the DM should obtain the
papers on that earlier claim, before giving a determination.

E4156

DMs should consider
1. the facts of the current claim and
2. the points at E4094 and E4095
before determining whether two people are LTAMC.

E4157

DMs should do this
1. even though a different determination may be made on the same set of facts
as those in an earlier claim and
2. to ensure that the circumstances in which the determination is made show the
burden of proof.
There would have to be a good reason for a DM to reach a different determination
on LTAMC, based on the same facts. If the DM reaches a different determination it
may be necessary to consider revision or supersession of the outcome decision on
the other benefit.

[E4158-E4999]

Appendix 1
Prohibited or forbidden degrees for marriage/civil partnership (see E4062)
A person cannot marry (or form a civil partnership with) their
1. adoptive child
2. adoptive parent
3. child
4. former adoptive child
5. former adoptive parent
6. grandparent
7. grandchild
8. parent
9. parent's sibling
10. sibling
11. sibling's child
12. child of former civil partner
13. child of former spouse
14. former civil partner of grandparent
15. former civil partner of parent
16. former spouse of grandparent
17. former spouse of parent
18. grandchild of former civil partner
19. grandchild of former spouse. In the above list "sibling" means a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister. For the people mentioned in 1.-11., the bar to marriage/registering as civil partners is absolute. For the people mentioned in 12.-19., they can marry/register as civil partners if both
parties are aged 21 or over at the time of the marriage/registration and the younger
person was never a child in the older person's family up to the age of 18.
"Child of the family" in relation to another person, means a person who
1. has lived in the same household as that other person and
2. has been treated by that other person as a child of their family.