I am sorry to hear about your bereavement.
We cannot give legal advice on any aspect in the medical or legal sphere - we are not doctors or lawyers. However we can do our best to point you in the right direction.
Your best source of information would be a Citizen's Advice Bureau
. You would get good advice in a confidential setting.
In general terms we can say that there are two different kinds of benefits - 'means-tested' - like Housing Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance. And 'non-means-tested' benefits like some types of disability benefits and allowances where the judgement is based on the effect on your life of the medical impairment.
Generally speaking an inheritance can count for a means-tested benefit but does not count for a non-means-tested benefit. If it is a mean-tested benefit then it comes down to how much money you are left by a relative. In your case it is less than £6,000.
The rules for Job Seeker’s Allowance
are here and they say that...
If you have savings over £16,000, you can’t usually get income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. Below this limit, for each £250 of your savings over £6,000, your benefit is reduced by £1 a week.
See Jobseeker’s Guide:http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@benefits/documents/digitalasset/dg_199994.pdf
For Housing Benefit
– an inheritance may count as capital – but on a sliding scale:
Although the details are here in the section headed ‘Capital’ it would be best to talk to your Citizen’s Advice Bureau
for a formal answer:http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/technical-guidance/rr2-a-guide-to-housing-benefit/working-it-out/income-and-capital/#aa35
You will have to scroll down and search out the rules in this long document but...
The wording for Capital is:Capital
'Your capital includes savings and investments held by yourself in any form (for example, bank and building society accounts, investment trusts, and shares) from any source (for example, inheritance
, redundancy payments, and irregular payments from a charitable or voluntary source). It will normally also include the net sale value of land and housing that you do not occupy, after deducting 10% for expenses of sale. HB Reg 44, HB(SPC) 44; CTB Reg 34,CTB(SPC) Reg 34]
If you have a partner, capital belonging to your partner is treated as yours for the purposes of HB/CTB.'
I hope this helps you a little.
Now to find your Citizen's Advice Bureau
you can use this site:http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
In the final analysis they will be able to tell you for sure if your legacy - which is less than £6,000 - is exempted from declaration.
Please feel free to ask further queries on this matter and if we can help, we will.
Chair IIH UKwww.iih.org.uk