Benefits advice

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My step-brother has a terminal cancer diagnosis and I am hoping he can relocate from England to live with me in Aberdeenshire.  He is 44, currently receives universal credit, help with housing costs and PIP.  I am 47, work full-time earning approx £35,000 per year and have a mortgage. I receive no benefits, just 25% council tax discount which will stop when he moves in.

I need to know how my step-brothers benefits will be affected if he moves in with me.  I will not be asking him to pay rent but he will ideally contribute towards food and heating costs. Nobody else lives in the home.  Money is tight as I am renovating my home, have some debt and have 3 kids at university.  I can manage financially if my step-brother can remain financially self-sufficient but will struggle if I have to support him financially if he loses his benefits.

I hope neither of us will lose out financially simply because I want to care for him rather than leave it to the NHS and him go into a care home or hospice.  Worse case scenario is that he does not tell his local authority (council tenant - so he keeps his flat) and DWP that he is moving but this could obviously be problematic and I would rather do everything legitimately if we can.  Usually with social housing it cannot be left unoccupied for long without breaching the tenancy agreement but maybe this is different for someone who has cancer?

I have already ascertained that I will not be eligible for carer's allowance.  Are there any other avenues I should explore, e.g. grants for making my home fit for him, help with relocation costs etc?

I hope someone can advise me, thanks in advance.


  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I am sorry to hear about your step- brothers diagnosis and can understand that you have several questions around how any move will affect his benefits.

    We have a dedicated group of Welfare Rights Advisers who can answer your questions around benefits and notifying the DWP. Unfortunately, the Welfare Rights Advisers don’t currently have a presence on Ask an Expert but you could speak to them by phone. You can contact them on freephone 0808 808 0000 and they’re available Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and weekends 9am – 5pm. If you’d prefer you can also contact them via webchat here by selecting “Chat to us” and then the “Welfare Benefits & Grants” option. 

    They will ask you for some financial details such as your household income, amount of any savings, cost of rent/mortgage, council tax and utilities just to see if any other help is available.

    Just to clarify, the Financial Guidance Service can provide information and guidance on all aspects of your personal finances to help you make informed decisions in the following areas;

    Pensions and retirement options

    Questions about insurance policies

    Mortgages and money management

    Arranging wills and trusts to protect your family

    General financial planning questions

    If there is anything from the above list that you would like to discuss, please reply to this message, or speak to us directly on the same number. To reach the Financial Guidance team just select options 1 then 2 then 1 again. Our team are available Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm.

    Kind Regards,





     Financial Guide