If you are in an abusive relationship, you may be worried about how you will cope financially if you leave. There are a number of benefits and financial assistance you can apply for to help you through this difficult time and set up on your own. These include:
This can be paid for up to 52 weeks and can be used to help towards rent payments when you are temporarily absent from your normal home due to domestic abuse. If you want to return to your former home in the future, you may also be able to transfer the benefit payments to this address, provided the property has not been sublet and meets Housing Benefit conditions.
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you are unemployed, you may be able to apply for a break from actively seeking work for up to 13 weeks if you have been a victim of domestic violence and abuse. This break is to help you get your life back on track and is split into two stages:
- An initial period of 4 weeks, starting on the day you tell Job Centre Plus that you are the victim of domestic abuse. You must do this in a face to face interview or over the phone with a Job Centre Plus Work Coach
- A further 9 weeks if you provide evidence during the initial 4 week period
To be eligible for this initial 4 week break, you must already be claiming JSA or be part of the ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), and the abuse must have taken place within the past 26 weeks. You must not be living at the same address as your abuser and you must not have had another break for the same reason within the past 12 month period. The incident must also meet the definition of domestic violence.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence and abuse when claiming Universal Credit, you can also apply for a break from job seeking as outlined above. The break can be extended for up to 26 weeks if you are the main carer of a child aged 16 or under, particularly if the child has been distressed by witnessing domestic abuse.
Alternative Payment Arrangements
If you are already claiming Universal Credit as a couple but wish to manage your money yourself as the result of suffering domestic abuse, you can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement. This means that payments are split into two different bank accounts rather than one, and it is also possible to allocate a higher amount of the payment to one party if they are a primary carer.
For further information about the full range of financial assistance available from the government for victims of domestic abuse, click here
Aberdeen City Council Financial Advice
If applying for financial aid seems daunting, you can reach out to your local council who offers free, impartial and confidential advice regarding money, filling forms, budgeting and debt. More information can be found here.