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Single or Couple?

The meaning of 'couple' in the benefits system is the same as in everyday speech. People who are living together in a relationship count as a couple for assessing their benefits, but this doesn't apply to people who are flat sharers or carers.

If you have a partner, you must claim as a couple. This is because household finances are taken into consideration to work out your entitlement to most benefits.

Note: If you are in a polygamous marriage you should seek further advice on your benefit entitlement.

Who to enter as 'you' and 'partner'?

Most new claims are now for Universal Credit, where it doesn't matter who is entered as 'you' and who is entered as 'partner' in the calculator. 

If you are an existing claimant of a legacy benefit (or you are in the small group of people who can still claim them) it can make a difference to the results who you chose as the main claimant.

Most legacy benefits assume the first person referred to as ‘you’ is the one who claims/will claim the means-tested benefits and so this calculator assumes the same if it calculates your entitlement to legacy benefits.

Therefore, if you are currently claiming a legacy benefit (Housing Benefit, tax credits, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance) as a couple, the existing lead claimant should be entered as 'you' in this calculation.

If one or both of a couple are not British or Irish citizens

If either member of a couple is not a British or Irish citizen, this can affect entitlement to means tested benefits. 

See the Benefit rules for mixed citizenship couples help page for further details.