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deductions for rent arrears

 

Sally63
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Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

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UC are taking 20% of client’s standard allowance for rent arrears. Via the journal I asked them to re-consider. As I read it they have discretion to take between 10 and 20% and should take the client’s circumstances into account.

Answer in journal—you have to ask your landlord—it’s up to him.

Wrong, I take it. The level of staff training seems to be abysmal. The client has pointed out via the journal that this is a mistake.

Since this is discretionary, I take it that it’s appealable?

     
SarahJBatty
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I would be tempted to ring the helpline.  They do have the power to reduce to 10% and they seem reasonably willing to do so based on explanation of hardship.  They prob have more experience than the Case Managers on the other end of the journals, so might be a more effective route for this particular issue.  Not up to the landlord although when landlords request it can sometimes be accorded respect that they ‘agree’ and acknowledge the hardship.

     
Alice SF
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Sally, I had exactly the same situation a couple of weeks ago.  Put a note on journal requesting reduction to 10% but had a reply saying that we needed to ask the landlord to make this request.  Fortunately/unfortunately before we had to start chasing this with UC, the arrears repayments were reduced to 10% as there was no longer allowance to do so as there had been another benefit overpayment added on.  So client now has 30% deductions for benefit overpayments and 10% for rent arrears.  We had already put in a written request to reduce the benefit overpayment recovery action so hopefully they will consider this further deduction at the same time.

     
Sally63
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that sounds as if it is becoming the ritual response and since it’s wrong maybe someone could chase it up (if anyone listens anywhere in the DWP or is in charge of this process)

     
Daphne
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I’ve sent a query via stakeholders to see if something can be done…

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Further to Daphne’s response

Sally this is an extract from today’s CITA’s start the week email for Cabbies, its under the making it easier to get advice bit. May be worth contacting blah blah if only to see etc etc?

‘There’s a new way to escalate DWP debt issues
Citizens Advice now has a dedicated contact at the DWP Debt Management department for escalating DWP debt issues that haven’t been dealt with correctly. They can’t help with fraud or benefit overpayment decisions. If you’ve had problems managing DWP debt that haven’t been solved by the usual escalation process, please email’ blah blah.

     
Sally63
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Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

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thank you. We will overcome