Living with Family

ADVICE NI’S HELPLINES REMAIN OPEN

We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]

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Living with relatives can work well and it can be an easy option for you.

A man and woman laughing.Nevertheless, if you are thinking of living with family then it is important that you are realistic about this option and consider it carefully.

Everyone in the household will have to adjust to the new arrangements, particularly if there are children or teenagers in the home, and it is best that everyone’s expectations are taken into account because compromises will have to be made.

Things to consider include:

  • Privacy – Will everyone have space and time to pursue their own interests?
  • Cooking – What will the cooking and eating arrangements be?
  • Budget – Will there be a contribution towards the household budget?
  • Furniture – What will be done with your own furniture?
  • Suitability – Is the house actually suitable for your needs or can it be adapted to suit?
  • Relationships – How are relations between you and your loved ones at the moment? Is everybody happy with the arrangements?
  • Care – What level of support do you require from the family? What will happen if your care needs increase?

If you are considering buying a property with your family, legal advice must be sought to ensure that everyone is sure of their position should circumstances change and you have to go into a care home. Investing in relatives’ property or purchasing a property jointly can cause complications if you have to be means-tested for assistance with care home fees at some future point.

What effect will living with family have on my benefits? 

Living with family does not mean that you cannot get Pension Credit. It is your income that is taken into account, not the family’s earnings.

Importantly too, if you are living in a property owned by a family member and are paying them rent, you may be entitled to housing benefit.

Housing Benefit is a tax-free, income related benefit awarded to you if you are responsible for paying rent and/or rates and satisfy the qualifying conditions.

From the point of view of the family, if a family member is spending a lot of time looking after you because you are frail, ill or have a disability, then that family member is your carer. As such, financial or practical help may be available to them for their own needs as a carer.

Help could be in the form of welfare benefits such as Carers Allowance and assistance from social services.