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Psychologically I think people feel better seeing money come into their account. Still, providing the benefit is realised as far as I'm concerned the simplest and most cost-effective way should be adopted. In terms of assessment, keep it simple. Joint income definitely, although a potential fly in the ointment would be assessing unmarried couples. Married couples would be easy (same tax return) but there would need to be some way to ensure unmarried couples with children were assessed together to ensure a fiddle wasn't going on. I suppose same address is one way, but what would happen if parents separated? All things to consider. I don't think savings should be included in means testing. Why should people be penalised for good financial management?