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Non dependants

Financial Wellbeing

Are you living with non dependants? If you share your home with a non-dependant it can affect your entitlement to certain benefits. 

Living with adult children and other non-dependants

Sharing a home with adult children or other non-dependants may affect your benefit entitlement and leave you financially worse-off.  

Who is classified as a non-dependant?

A non-dependant is a person who lives with you but is not liable for paying rent under a formal arrangement. It could be, for example, an adult son or daughter who is working or unemployed and who still lives with you.

If you live with a non-dependant your Housing Benefit, Universal Credit Housing Element and Council Tax Reduction may be reduced through rules on non-dependant deductions.

People that you live with who do not count as non-dependants are:

  • your partner
  • dependent children of you or your partner
  • foster children
  • anyone who is jointly responsible with you for the council tax - for example, a joint owner or tenant
  • someone who lives with you to look after you or your partner and who is employed by a charity or voluntary organisation who charges for this service
  • a boarder, sub-tenant or licensee.

For further information on how much will be deducted from your benefits for living with non-dependants, visit Entitledto’s “Non-dependant rules”.

How can you increase your household income if you are facing non-dependant deductions?

The simplest way to make-up for the drop in income that non-dependant deductions have caused is to seek a contribution from the non-dependant living with you.

It is worth bearing in mind that outside of your home, the adult living with you would likely incur housing costs, so it is fair to request a contribution towards the costs you face on their behalf.

The amount the non-dependant will contribute will vary depending on their circumstances. It is worth noting that most non-dependants will have some income from salaries, benefits or student loans, which they can contribute from. If they are without income, they should seek advice on their entitlement to benefits. They can do this online through a benefits calculator, such as Entitleto or Policy in Practice.

Contributions will not only benefit you but often also serve to help non-dependants who haven’t lived outside of the home before better understand managing their finances and budgeting.

If a non-dependant is resistant to contribute 

Here in the RCN Welfare Service we understand it can sometimes feel awkward to ask non-dependants (such as grown-up children) to financially contribute towards household costs. However, it may cause you considerable financial problems if a non-dependant doesn’t contribute.

Do not risk falling into mortgage or rent arrears because of this as you could lose your home. Speak to your non-dependant and explain the cost implication of them living with you and the consequences of not meeting payments (such as rent or mortgage) for you both.

Further advice 

If you are an RCN member you can get advice from the RCN Welfare Service free as part of your RCN membership.

If you are not a current RCN member you can get free debt advice from Step Change, a debt charity.