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Mixed-age couples claims for Housing Benefit not being accepted

 

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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I’ve just been made aware of a HB circular that seems to contain some very misleading guidance, which in turn seems to be causing many local authority HB departments refusing to accept new HB clains from mixed-age couples and instead telling them to claim UC instead.

HB Circular A9/2019 Mixed age couples: further guidance” in Annex A illustrates what should happen in a range of scenarios. The following section is the problem:

Existing mixed age couple tries to make a new claim to HB on or after 15 May 2019
Where a mixed age couple tries to make a new claim to HB on or after 15 May 2019, they should be signposted to UC to make a claim for their ongoing housing support.

This completely misrepresents the fact that an existing mixed-age couple can make a new claim for HB in at least two instances after 15 May 2019:

1. The backdating provisions enable a new HB claim to be made up to and including 13 August 2019, provided they can establish an eligibility back to 14 May 2019, as referenced in HB Circular A3/2019 Mixed age couples: changes to entitlement conditions from 15 May 2019 at paragraph 10:
o Backdated claims
10. The normal rules on the 3 month time limit for claiming pension age Housing Benefit will apply. This means that claims made on or before 13 August 2019 can be backdated to before the rule change applies, provided the claimant meets the entitlement conditions applicable on the earlier date.

2. The savings provisions in Article 4 of the Commencement Order allow new HB claims from mixed-age couples at any time after 15 May 2019, where they have been continuously in receipt of Pension Credit from and including 14 May 2019.

When we’ve advised our advisers to challenge the refusal to accept the HB claim, we’ve generally heard that quoting the guidance from A3/2019 is working but how many people are being wrongly turned away? Anyone else had anything similar? I’ve written to DWP seeking a correction but not holding my breath.

     
stevemac
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Hi Peter, recently had a MAC backdating claim refused - had to send the HB Team Leader a copy of HB circ A3/2019 with para 10 highlighted, claim has now been accepted - as you say how many have not been ( and not been challenged) ?

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Thanks Steve, glad to hear you managed to get it sorted out.

     
stevemac
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Sorry Paul ( Peter!?)- long day!!

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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stevemac - 27 June 2019 04:13 PM

Sorry Paul ( Peter!?)- long day!!

Ringo?

     
Steve B
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I have a similar case and advised an HB claim (income to high for PC), I will keep an eye on to see if they encounter similar difficulties.  Thanks for raising this

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Steve B - 28 June 2019 02:58 PM

I have a similar case and advised an HB claim (income to high for PC), I will keep an eye on to see if they encounter similar difficulties.  Thanks for raising this

Thanks Steve, let us know how you get on.

     
Charles
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The circular has now been amended to list the cases where an HB claim can still be made.

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Charles - 10 July 2019 10:53 PM

The circular has now been amended to list the cases where an HB claim can still be made.

Thanks Charles, I spotted this yesterday and forgot to post anything.