Closed petition Allow disabled people to keep all their benefits if they move in with a partner

Under current rules, people on ESA or UC risk losing some or all of our benefits if we find love and move in with a partner. This means that we have to choose either happiness or financial independence. These unfair rules have discouraged me from looking for love at any point in my life.

More details

Disabled people on income-related benefits risk being left totally dependent on their partner if they move in together. This is because, when joint income is taken into account, their partner's earnings or savings often exceed the limits for eligibility for income-related benefits

This rule applies even if the disabled person in the relationship cannot and won't ever be able to work, meaning that they have no choice other than to hope their partner's income is enough for them both to live on.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

11,462 signatures

Show on a map


Government responded

This response was given on 27 July 2023

Income-related benefits have always taken household income and capital into account when determining entitlement. However, PIP and DLA are not taken into account when determining benefit entitlement.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(IR)) and Universal Credit (UC) are means-tested welfare support. It has been the longstanding policy of successive Governments that income-related benefits treat couples as a single household unit when assessing benefit entitlement. Where claimants have income available to help meet their household’s everyday living costs, such as through a partner’s earnings or savings, their entitlement to benefit is adjusted accordingly.

The Government understands disabled people may face additional, disability-related costs, which is why income provided to meet those costs through extra costs disability benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance, are not taken into account when determining entitlement to income-related benefits.

Extra-costs disability benefits are not means-tested and are payable in and out of work, or in training. They are individual benefits and are not affected by household status or finances, and are paid in addition to other benefits such as ESA and UC. These extra-costs benefits are also passports to additional support, such as the Blue Badge scheme, Motability, and Carer’s Allowance for a carer.

In addition, households receiving severe disability benefits and/or entitled to carer benefits are exempt from the benefit cap to ensure the most vulnerable are supported.

Eligibility for ESA(IR) and UC is dependent on satisfying the basic conditions of entitlement and those relating to their financial position. Both benefits take into account the income and capital of the claimant and their partner, or a new partner if the claimant does not need to make a new claim. UC is replacing ESA(IR), but the principle of assessing members of a couple in this way will remain.

People with substantial savings or other capital should draw on these resources before looking to the taxpayer for support, particularly as many taxpayers themselves have savings below these limits. UC operates in a similar way to the benefits it is replacing; this is a longstanding principle within income-related benefits, such as Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Universal Credit provides more generous support for disabled people than it does for people in similar circumstances who are not disabled.

Based on the outcome of a Work Capability Assessment, a Universal Credit claimant who is determined to have limited capability for work and work-related activity may be awarded an additional amount of benefit, currently £390.06 per calendar month (2023/24 rates).

Additionally, households where one of the claimants has been determined to have limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity are eligible for a work allowance.

A work allowance is the amount that households with children or a household member with limited capability for work can earn before their Universal Credit award starts to be tapered, meaning many claimants will be able to earn either £379 or £631 each month before their Universal Credit begins to be reduced.

UC is not paid to claimants who have sufficient income available from other sources to support themselves. The general principle is that income, other than earnings, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is fully taken into account in the calculation of UC.

Department for Work and Pensions

Other parliamentary business

Share your views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people

The MPs on the Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on two petitions about the cost of living and financial support for disabled people:

Marsha De Cordova MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked to open the debate, which will take place on Monday 22 May.

Share your views

To inform the debate, we would like to hear from you about your experiences of and views on the cost of living and financial support for disabled people and people with a long-term health condition.

You can share your views with us by completing this survey

The survey is also available in the following formats:

The survey will close on 31 March.

A summary of responses will be published on the Parliament website. It will also be shared with MPs and may be referred to in the debate or within other parliamentary documents. Please don't share anything that may identify you.

Watch the debate

The debate will take place on Monday 22 May at 4.30pm.

A British Sign Language translation of the debate will also be made available on Parliament Live TV.

What are petition debates?

Petition debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on financial support for disabled people at the end of the debate.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.

Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.

When the Committee have received a revised response from the Government, this will be published on the website and you will receive an email. If you would not like to receive further updates about this petition, you can unsubscribe below.