Cohabitation and CAF: what are your rights as a couple?

Living together allows you to face the difficulties of life with more strength. For a couple, getting married, joining a civil partnership or simply cohabiting also makes it possible to distribute everyday expenses: rent, bills, shopping, etc. The improvement observed, on the economic level, has an impact in a few areas, in particular taxes but also housing aid and family allowances. How to declare a change to the CAF or Caisse d'Allocations Familiales? What advantages does cohabitation bring? What are the risks in the event of non-declaration? Studapart explains everything you need to know between cohabitation and CAF.



Concubinage: definition in the eyes of CAF


Cohabitation is a legal term that designates the situation of two adults who have chosen to live in the same dwelling, in a durable and notorious way, without being married or in a civil partnership. The term common-law union is sometimes used to designate cohabitation, which is a mistake: common-law union has, by definition, no legal character in law (and can also apply to two people living separately).


It is also necessary to distinguish cohabitation from colocation. Roommates do not share anything other than housing. They each pay rent and each receive their own receipt. From the CAF, they benefit from their own housing aid (APL, ALS or ALF). Of course, if their relationship becomes more intimate, they enter into a situation of cohabitation and this must be declared as such to the CAF.



How to declare a change of situation to the CAF (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales)?


It is very important to declare your change of situation to the CAF, when for example you have just joined a couple and become cohabiting or move into accommodation as a couple. For two main reasons: when this change is proven, but not declared, CAF may ask you to reimburse any overpayments. Conversely, your new situation may also entitle you to more aid and new allowances depending on your income, resources and rent. It would be a shame to miss it!


To declare a change of situation, simply go to the website


  • Log in to your personal space
  • Select “My account” in the left menu
  • Choose “Declare a change”
  • Select the “Family situation” box: you have the choice between “Married”, “Pacsé” or “Free union”. For cohabitation, the latter must be chosen (even if it is badly formulated).


All you have to do is answer the questions asked. Certain supporting documents (of income and resources in particular) may be requested during entry.


When two recipients begin a life together and are recognized as cohabiting by the CAF, their files are combined into one. The amount of your housing rights (APL, ALS, ALF) is recalculated the month following your declaration according to income, household resources and rent. Please note, however, that this grouping only concerns CAF. In terms of taxes, cohabitants remain two independent people who must declare their income separately.



What are the advantages of declaring cohabitation?


Once you have changed your situation on the CAF website, do not hesitate to renew your requests for aid, taking into account the new parameters (income, resources, rent, etc.).


Declaring yourself cohabiting automatically eliminates the aid to which you might have been entitled as a single parent, in particular the ASF (family support allowance) and the RSA (active solidarity income).


On the other hand, the amounts of other benefits to which you are entitled are re-calculated and may represent an advantage, in particular those which are determined according to the number of people at home, income and resources and rent: the activity bonus, APL or Personalized Housing Assistance and other housing assistance, family allowances.



Cohabitation and CAF: what are the risks of non-declaration?


The declaration of one's situation, income and resources in due form to the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales is a duty in the same way as taxes. CAF was set up to help many households, and like any solidarity action, its proper functioning depends on the goodwill and honesty of each beneficiary.


It is therefore important to declare any change in situation, in particular cohabitation, but also:


  • an additional presence in the home,
  • the birth of a child,
  • a marriage,
  • a separation,
  • moving,
  • the loss of his job,
  • partial unemployment, etc.


Any declaration of change allows the CAF to redo the calculations of the amount of your aid, often to the benefit of the recipient. It can also give you the right to new aid!


When CAF discovers a situation that has not been declared, it is often too late. A refund of the overpayment is then made, which can be a considerable amount if the undeclared situation has been going on for a long time.

Sanctions may vary depending on the seriousness of the situation. If the beneficiary can justify his good faith in forgetting his declaration, the sanction amounts to a refund of the overpayment. If the non-declaration is deliberate, the recipient may be fined. The Caisse d’Allocations Familiales can also file a complaint with the courts.


Studapart naturally recommends that you declare any change in the situation in the household. It is very likely that this will bring you more satisfaction than disadvantages, especially since forgetting to declare can have very annoying consequences.

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