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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

Lobster pot and specified accomodation

Rebecca Lough
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Welfare rights - Greenwich Council

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Client is receiving enhanced PIP x 2 and UC. They have recently made a claim for HB which is going to be awarded on the basis that it’s specified accommodation.

Could this client close their UC and apply for ESA, once HB is in payment with SDP?

Thanks

HB Anorak
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In theory, 99% yes.  In practice depends whether the individual DWP officer dealing with the ESA claim understands how the SDP works in HB.

I say only 99% in theory because you could read s130 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 as meaning that there is no applicable amount in a case where HB is “passported”, and therefore no SDP:  With extraneous words stripped out, the key bit is this:

130.—(1) A person is entitled to housing benefit if–
(c) ...
(i) he has no income or his income does not exceed the applicable amount …

.
If the claimant is on UC, all of his her income is disregarded and so s/he has no income for the purpose of s130(1)(c)

But the applicable amount is used for other things apart from the means-test, including for example whether or not a single claimant under 35 is limited to the shared accommodation LHA (not if you have an SDP).  It would be perverse to withhold that privilege from claimants who either have no income or have their income disregarded through receipt of a DWP “passporting” benefit.  So I am pretty sure that even a claimant on full passported HB has a latent applicable amount that is brought into play when issues like this arise.

Now good luck explaining that to the DWP officer who processes the ESA claim.  It will help if your HB colleagues weigh in with confirmation of SDP entitlement.  I don’t think there is an official communication channel when events fall this way round though - if the claimant was trying to make a new UC claim while getting HB the Council would quickly return the migration form confirming SDP status.  But I dont think there is a form in a case like yours.

J Bathie
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Family Finance Adviser, Money Advice Unit, Herts CC

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I thought once UC claim is no longer in payment - then HB instead of being passported would *have* to be recalculated on the basis of low income so should then show SDP?

HB Anorak
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You’re right, passporting effect of UC no longer applies if you come off it - sorry, my logic was at fault there.

Issue still arises if the claimant has absolutely no non-disregarded income - say they have PIP and nothing else at all.

Owen_Stevens
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UC London Adviser, CPAG

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HB Anorak - 22 January 2020 06:33 PM

In theory, 99% yes.  In practice depends whether the individual DWP officer dealing with the ESA claim understands how the SDP works in HB.

I say only 99% in theory because you could read s130 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 as meaning that there is no applicable amount in a case where HB is “passported”, and therefore no SDP:  With extraneous words stripped out, the key bit is this:

130.—(1) A person is entitled to housing benefit if–
(c) ...
(i) he has no income or his income does not exceed the applicable amount …

.
If the claimant is on UC, all of his her income is disregarded and so s/he has no income for the purpose of s130(1)(c)

Is anyone coming across this as a problem in cases where they are trying to move people in temporary accommodation or supported accommodation back to legacy benefit?  This is something that I might be interested in so, if so, drop me an email or a Rightsnet message

stevejohnsontrainer
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Rebecca’s question related to the possible loss of the SDP Shield for general Legacy purposes if a claimant is in specified accommodation and needs HB. The potential problem is lack of evidence of SDP in HB applicable amount via the mischief in s130 of SSCBA 1992.  Specifically, it makes you wonder what the intended role of s130 is. At first sight it looks like s130 simply says you can get HB if you have nil or low income. The more sinister implication is that s130 becomes a device to block protection from disabled tenants who in truth correspond to SDP Shield type criteria.

I think S130 is the simply the former and not intended to be the sinister latter. HB Anorak puts it perfectly when referring to the ‘latent applicable amount’.

The business of SDP Shield applicability in ‘HB only’ cases also relates to s130. See para 2 of Memo ADM 01/19 which seeks to deny the ongoing Shield from ‘HB only’ cases, plus schedule 2(1)(a) etc of the Managed Migration Regs that excludes ‘HB only’ cases from the scope of compensation.  If s130 should be read in the former (nice way), then both potential problems could be resolved.