Do DSS benefits like DLA (Disability Living Allowance) count as income in the calculation of our respective income levels for form E? My wife receives significant DLA benefits, while I earn very little, and she still wants more of my money.
I don't normally like to answer questions if I'm not sure about the answer ; all I can say is that, if it were me, I would disclose them. DLA and similar benefits are intended as recompense for the extra costs of disability, so therefore, if your wife has extra income, she also has needs which the Court would be required to consider because it is one of the statutory factors. So perhaps, if the benefits are disclosed, your wife has extra needs and the two cancel each other out.
But in your case, you see, DLA is not taxable and is not affected by any capital which the recipient might have. The fact that she is getting this benefit will entitle her to extra Income Support ( because it gives her a Disability Premium or even an Enhanced Disability Premium ) not to mention other possible benefits like free road tax if the DLA relates to mobility needs.
I think it is well worth your while investigating your wife's entitlement to benefits when you split. At the moment you will be assessed as a couple ; when you separate she will be assessed on her own. Her benefits could be quite substantial. That won't, of itself, necessarily absolve you from having to pay spousal maintenance ; but your needs must be met, and it sounds to me as you will not be able to pay your wife much, if anything, although I would expect at least a nominal order for SM.
There's another reason why your wife may be better off on Income Support, and it is this. The recipient of IS gets certain valuable benefits, called passport benefits in the trade. Examples are free prescriptions and free school dinners for the kids. If, to give you an example, her IS ( disregarding any maintenance for the moment ) is £100 per week, plus any DLA. Suppose you are ordered to pay £101 per week in SM. You might think she would be
better off than she would be if she were on IS ; but this is not so. She would actually be better off if you paid her say £95 pw and she claimed the other £5 from I.S. because she gets free prescriptions and all the rest. Not to mention legal assistance !
I think you get my drift. If you are hard up you might well have to pay something towards her benefits, but
it seems unlikely that you would be ordered such a sum as would take her off benefits altogether ; so therefore, there is no need to crucify you to save the Treasury a paltry sum.
Have you considered your eligbility for Legal help ?
ALL benefits are classed as household income with regards to the form E and they have to be shown. The courts HAVE to take Benefits in to account as EX's have to show the courts they have "maximized" their income whether it be getting a job or claiming all the benefits they are entitled to. The courts also have to take in to account the fact the other party may not be entitled to benefits also.