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Hi all, first off I would just like to say, I hope I have posted in the correct place!


Second I would like to say; I am somewhat clueless with these benefits matters so please excuse me if I sound daft…


Ok, so, I have a buddy who has recently (Aug 1st 2016) has had his son (12 years old) living with him (he was with him before this date but this is the ‘official’ date after the child’s mother conceded it was probably a good thing he lived with his dad) as he was unhappy living with his mother and was struggling at school and socially, he was suffering from severe social anxiety and bullying at home and some bullying at school, so asked his dad if he could come live with him. His mother threw up a stink (understandable) and basically would not easily let go (again understandable).


However, this has cause some issues for my buddy with child tax credits and benefits like housing and council tax. Basically, he made a claim for the benefits mentioned above (and other related benefits, not sure of the full list but can check if folks need more info?) and was supporting his son on his own benefits and support from friends and family, also he had a food bank voucher and had some food credits from a local charity, and his mother had paid the rent and council tax.


Also, he is currently and has been prior to this looking for work and is attending interviews but he has had trouble with this as he could not afford to pay for the travel upfront to attend some of the interviews because he had these sudden extra outgoings to attend to and was short some weeks. In this time his family have helped with other things such as helping get his son to school and back, paid for school uniforms and other related items.


He has received this letter (see attached) a couple of weeks ago citing that his ex-partner was entitled to up to 56 days’ worth of the benefits back payment as this is the law. The problem I see here and the problem he is obviously somewhat upset about, is that his son was not with his mother and has not been for some time now, she had no additional expense whilst he did and yet she has somehow been granted benefits, for a child she has had no hand in caring for in this period.


In this time he has had no child related benefits and little support from the authorities (apart from his own personal benefits payments and food vouchers) such as housing benefits, council tax benefit etc…

So, my question(s) to the forum are these.


In your opinion(s) Is there any mileage in pursuing this matter? Personally, though I wholeheartedly believe this is wrong of them to have come to this conclusion, I do feel like he is probably going to get stonewalled, despite the fact there is irrefutable proof that his son was with him and not his mother? How can this be right?


If forum-ites believe it is worth pursuing the matter, can any of you folks in the know, throw any advice our way, that may be able to help me to help him tackle this? I am lost on this subject matter and feel that the authorities have made a poor decision here and cannot see how the mother is entitled to anything from when the child was officially with his father.

We have downloaded the SSCS5/A but have not begun to fill it in yet.


I look forward to responses from you all and thank you all in advance for even taking the time to look at this for me as I know many of the folks here are busy themselves.


Thanks and kind regards



Pages from Benefits_Credits_Letter_20161021_P1_Redacted.pdf

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That is the case sorry, the other parent can continue to have the entitlement to receive the child benefit and all associated benefits for a period of 56 days unless they relinquish it voluntarily earlier than that. Your friend could approach the mother and ask her to make a contribution towards his living costs during that period but she is under no legal obligation to do that.

There is very little that the other organisations such as the local authority can do until the relevant benefits are paid.

I used to be a processing officer for DWP Income Support and would have claims waiting for the full 8 weeks before I could make a decision and have the parent on the phone either desperate and not knowing what to do or where to turn or the extreme of shouting that it was me personally holding everything up. I would have thought that nearly 20 years later things would have improved but sadly not.


https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit-child-lives-with-someone-else your friend you try to show the mother this link that does state she may wish to consider making a contribution for their sons upkeep but again not legally binding.

Tax Credits are not usually paid without the child benefit being paid but there are exceptions to this, it may be worth getting in contact with CAB or even local MP.

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Hi flumps, thanks for the post/response.


I hear what you are saying but I do not understand it and I fail to see any logic in the process (I dont mean this at you directly).


For example, surely the 'other' parent should no longer be entitled to anything once the child has moved home and is resident with the 'new' full time parent, I dont understand what all this 56 days nonsense is about and I do not understand why the 'other' parent can 'just' be entitled whilst the 'new' parent struggles to make ends meet.


Also, if such cases are 'done & dusted' what is the point of an appeal process? I mean why bother offering one in the first place is there is just no way the decision will ever be overturned, again all just seems somewhat 'wrong' shall we say...


As for the mother making a contribution, not a chance, my friend has had his son (now 13) for many years over the summer, christmas and easter holiday (and i mean ALL summer, christmas and easter) and at least a couple of weekends a month. We figured out he actually had his son for something like 3 months full time every year for 5-6 years and she refused to give him any cash or support always sniping about how he was moaning about having to 'pay' for his own child, despite him having to feed and water the boy for upto 8 weeks at a time (or example this year and other times, she took the child out of school early and sent him to his fathers and would throw up a stink if wouldnt do it immediately and he said he needed to make some arrangements...


Conversely, she was always overly keen and very happy to stop his dad from seeing him if she did not get her own way or would just not turn up when it suited her, one time she had an 'emergency' hair appointment, all this despite the court orders guiding her not to behave in such ways, he was granted PR, and her necxt move, was to tell the school, the doctor and any who had contact with the child that he was not to be given any information, and she even moved out of the county despite the court denying her permission at that time, she went anyway and nothing happened).


So you see she is not the most thoughtful, considerate and generous of women, and if I know anything about her, I reckon shes already bought herself a new iPad and some wine with the back pay...And just to give you an example, the main thrust of her argument for her son not leaving, was not that she loved him or that she could do better or that she would help him be happier, no these were not the first words from he mouth, it was that she wouldnt be able to afford the rent on her place without his child support money, and how selfish does that make him after all she has done and she offered him, get this, a proper bedroom, he could choose the paint too...I will let you make your own mind up about the type of person we are discussing here...


The only positive here, his son, who was clearly being neglected emotionally and mentally, and he even told CAFCASS that he loved his mum, and she gave him food (mostly crisps and sandwiches) and she gave him somewhere to sleep, but she did not look him nor care for him (these where the words he chose and I was amazed at just how eloquent he is) was chatting to me a short while back, about how much happier he is, he is looking well, lost a few pounds, started playing sports at a local kids group who teach kids rugby/soccer/cricket and one of my other buddies teached the rugby training up there. He says hes eating better, has more friends, despite him still having some anxiety he has really picked up at school just since Sept, his english teacher is delighted with his progress and he is actually doing pretty well in maths too now. He his trying to convince his dad to let him cycle to school instead of being driven, the change in him is so visible its almost unbeleivable to the child I saw 6 months ago who was moody, angry and rude, worried and frightened of what was going to happen to him, his dad and of course his mum.


So again, thanks for the post, its interesting to see your comment re the MP as we were just discussing this earlier today(Tues 8th)...



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Hi Flumps (Again) I have explained a bit more why this makes no sense to me...


I have to be honest, I am really struggling to grasp the logic here with some of this...


For example, in the Mandatory Reconsideration Letter it states:


When a person and child or qualifying young person stop living together, they can be treated as still living with each other until the absence exceeds 56 days in any 16 week period.


So this is my first 'misunderstanding' shall we say. If a child or qualifying young person has moved out of their current home and into the 'new' home with the 'new' adult, then how exactly can they be treated as still living with each other when there is proof the child or qualifying young person is no longer resident at the address they were living and is now resident at their new address? I am having trouble seeing how this works exactly. To me it is quite simple, child moves out xx/xx/xxxx date and any social payments associated with said child, should cease with immediate effect or at the least within a reasonable amount of time, let’s say 7 days, and any social payments associated with the child’s residency should then be transferred and awarded to the 'new' parent or carer.


In this same section it states: This mean that Miss XxXx can be treated as having Child living with her up to xxxx date and including xxxx date.


Just how exactly do you parse this logic? If the child is not resident, then the child is not 'living' with her, there is no way around this fact, thus, how can she be treated as having the child living with her, if the child is not physically there??? Does this mean the child can still claim school meals, a place on the school bus, the mother can still claim other allowances for the child? Does this make any sense to anyone else?


Again this is just such a ridiculous statement it makes my head hurt and my eyes bleed. Imagine this argument elsewhere, yes your honour, I normally stay in bed until about 8AM so despite me not actually being in bed at 4AM on said morning and being seen on a camera in the town centre blowing my guts over the new flower displays, you may consider me as 'being' in bed and therefore can treat me as still in bed, and in fact, I am in bed now your honour, despite talking to the court, thus, I am not responsible for said damage to lovely daisies and tulips...and I am not really here...yeah they would ask for a mental health assessment probably...


Beyond this move out date and beyond the 'reasonable' time frame the 'other' parent or carer should get nothing more for the child, I am struggling to see how someone can be awarded social payment for a child that no longer lives with them and has not done so for over 6 weeks. I can find no explanation for this at this time.


Another statement I have issues with: When we received your claim for child xxx was already receiving child benefit...Child benefit cannot be paid before the week a claim is received when benefit has already been paid to another person whether or not that person was entitled to it.


Ok so, I get that sometimes these things 'cross over' and the admin needs to be done and a change of direction takes time to achieve, fairynuff, but, again, if said child is no longer with said recipient, then how are they legally entitled to anything? The child is resident elsewhere, in this case with his father who was at that time struggling to make ends meet, and yet his ex-partner, who is not actually entitled to the payment, has somehow not only got this 1-2 weeks of 'grace' whether she is entitled to it or not, and then been awarded 6 weeks’ worth of payments she is also (IMO) not entitled to as the child was not in her care. In the end the parent who had not finger nor hand in the child’s care for that 2 months, got almost all the social payments associated with the child, despite the HMRC/Benefits and Credits Office knowing full well he no longer resided with her. How on earth can that be the correct decision? It just plain makes no sense to me at all.


So despite my friend having his son since late June/early July he actually did not receive ANY benefits for his son until 1st September, the payments for June, July and August went to his ex. so slap me If I sound crazy (metaphorically of course) but this just seems so unjust, so wrong, it makes no sense on any regular level, I just cannot fathom how anyone could come to such a decision based on fact and reality.


The only conclusion I keep arriving at, and this may just be my frustration venting, is that the case workers basically could not be arsed looking at the case properly, they just ticked it off as a 'standard' case, looked no further than the first page type of attitude, and have rebuffed the initial request for reconsideration because otherwise it would show up just how poorly they have handled this case. I have come across this a number of times where you ask for a 'review' and they resolutely promise you they have done a 'thorough' investigation and found nothing in your favour, yet when you are a day away from court they suddenly find all this information, that was on a 'different' screen, or they 'looked into it personally' is another one I have heard and realised they did owe you £10k after all...which only proves to show that my/our concept of the meaning of thorough is wholly different from theirs.


To me it seems the system itself is severely flawed, it is most likely at the least 'out of date' and 'out of sync' with the way things are today, It would appear to me the main thrust of their MO is 'lets just tick them off with the 'standard' approach and get them shipped out' attitude and in my opinion is basically very unfair to the child and the 'new' parent as they have struggled for almost 2 months to discover that the funds they where hoping would come to help them out, have been given to the 'other' parent for basically not looking after the child, its just bizzare to me.


This case, and I have no doubt a slew of other similar cases, is clearly not based on logic nor the 'right' thing, justice may be too strong, but you know what I mean, it is clear to me that wherever the child is, the social support payments should be, and this 56 days nonsense (and that is exactly what it is to me) is just a cop out. If there is some issue with the childs residency then by all means freeze payments if this is a suitable approach, or make payments to the carer who currently holds residency with the child until such matters are settled and reconciled, and this period of course could no doubt be useful in some cases where the residency is still in question, but to simply award someone a payment, blindly, in spite of a bucket full of evidence that the child is no longer with that parent or carer, is just outright wrong.


The fact that you can legally entitle someone to payment they clearly should not be getting in itself is illogical and wrong...They have the proof, they can check with authority such as the NHS Trust to see the child is registered and has been seen by a doctor in that time frame, he has been attending school and his name was registered with his school back in August, he has been attending the local kids support groups (like a youth club with 'advisors') who have been chatting to him and his dad helping them adjust and find support in other areas, the child clearly has a life here and not there...


Anyway, frustration rant over...haha...


thanks again



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It does seem unreasonable, but my read of the laws quoted by the Decision Maker is the same as Flumps1976 - legally it would seem to the right decision. Of course, he can still appeal - it's hassle but it doesn't cost anything. The Tribunal can check that the DM has indeed applied the law correctly, but obviously they can't change the law.


When they say the child can be "treated as" living with your friend's ex, it's worth noting that "treated as" in benefit terms nearly always has an implicit "even though it isn't the case" added on.




The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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The only way to speed things up is to get the mother to write a letter relinquishing her claim for child benefit and tax credits for the child, but she is under no obligation to do this and from what you posted is highly unlikely to do that.

As for the 56 days I have no idea where that figure came from sorry and not going to add my personal opinions as they won't change the outcome.


Hope things are sorted soon

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Hi Flumps and antone, thanks for the responses, firstly @flumps, I hear you flumps, and I hope you dont think I was directing any of my post at you, I wasn't. With regards the 56 days, this is what the letter states and it appears the law states the ex partner is entitled to, despite the child not being in her care.


@antone, thanks again for the response, I do appreciate the time folks put in to respond, and it does help, not always how we want but it is good to get some thoughts and opinions on such things. Also just to note, my post is not aimed at you, I am just rattling on again...


With regards to your mention of 'seems unreasonable', I absolutely agree, because it is. The law as it stands may be interpreted as correct at this time, they (the DM) may have even executed it properly, but the fact remains (for me at least and I suspect many others) that if the child is not with said parent or carer and has been shown/seen to no longer have residence then said parent/carer should no longer be entitled to anything. I see this period as a 'buffer' to get things in place and adjust any benefits, residency issues and related things and as I said before, I can see the sense in such a 'buffer' of time if it is required in an individual case.


However, it is not a matter of interpretation or application for me, it is straight forward, for me and in this case, as I have previously stated, the official date (We have this date) the child leaves the care of said parent is when the process to end any social benefits attached to the childs residency begins (at the earliest opportunity) and the transfer (We have this date) of said benefits is applied to and provided to the 'new' parent/carer, so they can actually take care of said child with said benefits, after all is this not what these payments are for.


I cannot see how it can or should be seen any other way, the mother in this instance (despite what the law currently says) has no right in my opinion to any benefits for the child, because as I keep stating, this is not money for her to do as she pleases, this is money for the support of the child, a child she did not have in her care.


She has basically gotten 2 months of public funds for doing nothing and having nothing to do with the child in this time, whilst his father had to struggle, take hand outs and food bank vouchers, and wait for the 8-12 weeks for them to come to this decision, and despite what the authorities say about this, I cannot fathom how any reasonable person would see this as proper and correct and I cannot see how any reasonable person would agree that she is entitled to any of those funds despite what the law states.


It makes no sense to me at all just to hand out benefits to a parent or carer, who does not actually have a child in residence to care for and then deny the parent who does have the child struggles to feed them both those same benefits. Nope I just cant grasp it...


I have been talking to my buddy today, and he is thinking on the lines of putting the appeal in anyway, so we shall see...On another more positive note, he has had job offer in a local warehouse, its only temporary (Full time though) for the Christmas period from next week to New Years week so he should have 4-6 weeks of work hopefully, so he is a little brighter today.


Thanks all, and bye for now



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Hi I certainly didn't take anything personally :)

The 56 days is there and as I stated previously unless the mother voluntarily relinquishes the relevant benefits then the decison will not change regardless of your friend making a mandatory reconsideration request or appeal.

I was speaking to someone at work today who also used to work in benefit processing and jobcentre and they seem to recall that the 56 days is there as sometimes a child will go and stop with the other parent for the duration of school holidays but still remain resident with the main parent so it was to protect that claim, how true that is I don't know sorry and have been out of the jobcentre for several months now and processing for many years prior to that.

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Hi flumps, I agree with all you have said to a large extent, and in some cases this would be the prudent thing, as I have said I see the sense in such a buffer period, until things are settled, then give the DMs a chance to look at the facts, see whats gone on,where the child is finally living and with who, and see who is entitled to make the claim.


But in this case and others I have discovered, this is not the case at all, the child did not go back to the 'other' parent and stated he did not want to go back the minute he arrived at his fathers place, thus there is absolutely no basis for the mother to have been granted those funds.


As I have stated over and over, this is clear cut, he was with his father, never went back to his mother, this is documented, from multiple sources, such as summer school, the youth workers and advisors the child saw weekly for almost 3 months, at the club he attends, doctors’ visits etc.…so it is not like there was a shortage of potential sources nor any doubt as to their validity.


To me this is just pure lazy on the part of the DMs, I believe they lack a fundamental understanding of the difference between could be entitled (under certain circumstances) and should and is entitled (under any circumstances).


If the law clearly states that she (the other parent) is unconditionally entitled, which I do not believe it does, then first off why bother having an appeal process, as there would never be any grounds for an appeal.


Thus, there must be some 'reasonable' leeway in the decision-making process, this is clear, by where they conclude if the child was resident at X or Y on dates A, B or C, and I believe this has been basically ignored for the 'standard' let’s just do it this way, the process has clearly not been followed properly, and the DMs have just handed over the funds because it was the easy option, because that’s the way they ‘usually’ do, it takes no thinking about nor real involvement, you see it all the time, standard fob offs from companies, and authorities who hide behind legal jargon and have people doing work they little truly understand.


As I have said before, not one single reasonable person would agree given the facts and the circumstances that she is entitled to one single penny whilst her child was being fed by food rations and handouts from good hearted folks and the father should not need to ask her for some of it back or support (she wont give it anyway I know she has already bought her self a new iPad), because it’s the money he should have gotten in the first place and just imagine if this was the other way around, what a black name he would get for taking money and food out of his childs hands.


It is an abysmal decision and it makes no sense to me on any level.


Anyway, thanks again for the input I will let you know if we go ahead with the appeal, personally I am not convinced its worth it but its not my decision.



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