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Can HB be paid by calendar month?

 

EKS_COTTON
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Tax and Welfare Rights Officer, Equity

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Joined: 10 March 2014

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere.

Client lives in privately rented accommodation.  He is charged £550.00 per calendar month, but HB paid 4 weekly at £507.68.  He is not losing out on any money, just finding it hard to budget.

Can HB be paid by calendar month?  My clients’  local authority is saying it can only be paid 4 weekly. 

Had a look at the HB regs - 91 and 92 they seem to suggest HB payments can be more flexible, e.g.

Time and manner of payment 91.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) and regulations 92 to 98 (frequency of payment of a rent allowance, and payment on account of a rent allowance, payment provisions, offsetting) the relevant authority shall pay housing benefit to which a person is entitled under these Regulations at such time and in such manner as is appropriate, having regard to—

(a) the times at which and the frequency with which a person’s liability to make payment of rent arises; and

(b) the reasonable needs and convenience of the person entitled thereto.

Or am I missing something?

     
HB Anorak
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benefits consultant/trainer, hbanorak.co.uk, east london

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Yes it can be done.  Here are the key bits of Reg 92:

92.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this regulation any rent allowance ... shall be paid at intervals of 2 or 4 weeks or one month or, with the consent of the person entitled, at intervals greater than one month.

(3) ... subject to paragraph (4), this paragraph applies where payment of a rent allowance is being made to a landlord, when that payment shall be made–
(a) at intervals of 4 weeks

(4) Where paragraph (3) applies–
(a) in a case where the liability in respect of which the rent allowance is paid is monthly, the authority may make payment at intervals of 1 month

Councils are very reluctant to pay monthly however.  HB is calculated weekly and if there is any rounding discrepancy between the calculated entitlement and the amount paid, it won’t reconcile and the computer will start juddering and emitting steam and sparks.  So while the regs seem to contemplate that people who pay their rent monthly will receive their HB monthly, local authority accounting systems struggle to cope with it.  It doesn’t attract a right of appeal (para 1 of the Schedule to the HB&CTB; D&A Regs), so a complaint is the only proportionate remedy (I think a JR would be a bit over the top for this).

     
EKS_COTTON
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Tax and Welfare Rights Officer, Equity

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Indeed.  Many thanks for this HB Anorak.  I will pass it on.