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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  COVID-19: Welfare benefit rules and entitlements  →  Thread

Housing Benefit / Housing costs

hbinfopeter
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Director - HBINFO, North Yorkshire

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It is clear that the proposed increase in LHA will not make any difference to many claimants unless the benefits cap is changed or frozen.

Secondly extra help (such as the tax credits) must be disregarded or it may just create an overpayment of HB and CTS/R.

Then there is the thorny issue of Council Tax Support in England…hundreds of different schemes in England. Some have a similar “minimum income floor” type scheme for the self employed and I do not see how such schemes can be changed at this late stage unless specific powers are given….with the decision letters and bills having just gone out.

I am particularly interested in the “bedroom tax”. If a person has to self-isolate in a separate bedroom, is this sufficient for that charge no longer to apply?  I think it might. Would a person have to have actual symptoms? It would clearly be far better if the “bedroom tax” could be suspended for a year!

Any thoughts?    .

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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A colleague raised this earlier today and we think it’s got to be worth a go.

Ruth Knox
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RAISE Benefits Advice Team, Liverpool

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Yes, think the Benefit Cap will make all of thees increases meaningless

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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Am I missing something with the ‘LHA to cover 30% of market rent’ announcement? Isn’t that how the LHA is normally set, by looking at the 30th quartile of market rent in the BRMA?
& the benefit freeze was ending this April anyway so I don’t think that is new either- although in our area it only equated to a paltry extra £10 a month for a one bed.

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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It is currently set at the lower of the 30th percentile and the previous year’s rate + CPI. Most rates are therefore significantly lower than the 30th percentile.

My question is if they’re also going to increase the absolute maximum for each category of dwelling? If they don’t, many parts of London won’t see an increase.

[ Edited: 25 Mar 2020 at 07:53 am by Charles ]
Madamejones
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Benefits Take Up officer - Cheltenham Borough Council, Gloucestershire

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hbinfopeter - 23 March 2020 08:32 PM

It is clear that the proposed increase in LHA will not make any difference to many claimants unless the benefits cap is changed or frozen.

Secondly extra help (such as the tax credits) must be disregarded or it may just create an overpayment of HB and CTS/R.

Then there is the thorny issue of Council Tax Support in England…hundreds of different schemes in England. Some have a similar “minimum income floor” type scheme for the self employed and I do not see how such schemes can be changed at this late stage unless specific powers are given….with the decision letters and bills having just gone out.

I am particularly interested in the “bedroom tax”. If a person has to self-isolate in a separate bedroom, is this sufficient for that charge no longer to apply?  I think it might. Would a person have to have actual symptoms? It would clearly be far better if the “bedroom tax” could be suspended for a year!

Any thoughts?    .

When they announced the extra £1,000 a year my first thought was is this going to be disregarded in the HB/CTS claim. Totally agree with the bedroom tax being suspended too!

 

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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The new LHA rates are here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-housing-allowance-lha-rates-applicable-from-april-2020-to-march-2021

In our area that’s an increase of over £100 per month for some room sizes! And +£200pcm for the 4-bed. Something positive & desperately needed (noted it won’t help with ben capped cases). And, the cynic in me wonders if some private LLs will put up rents due to the increase in LHA.

Timothy Seaside
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Housing services - Arun District Council

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I wonder if/when we’ll get the LHA rates for UC.

And it seems somebody in the VOA is blaming it on the crows. The LHA spreadsheet is called “AMENDED_CORVID_19_2020_21_LHA_TABLES”. Perhaps they know something we don’t. I’m watching some crows in my garden while I type this, and they do look shifty.

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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bristol_1 - 27 March 2020 09:25 AM

The new LHA rates are here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-housing-allowance-lha-rates-applicable-from-april-2020-to-march-2021

In our area that’s an increase of over £100 per month for some room sizes! And +£200pcm for the 4-bed. Something positive & desperately needed (noted it won’t help with ben capped cases). And, the cynic in me wonders if some private LLs will put up rents due to the increase in LHA.

I don’t see a Table 4? I assume the rates are Table 2, but capped at the amounts in Table 3?

Timothy Seaside
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Housing services - Arun District Council

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I’m getting five tabs - Explanations and Tables 1-4. Perhaps you need to scroll along at the bottom to get to Table 4?

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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Weird, I don’t get Table 4 when opening in google sheets, but I do see it in Libre Office (no Excel at home…).

Jon Blackwell
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Programmer - Lisson Grove Benefits Program, Brighton

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hbinfopeter - 23 March 2020 08:32 PM

...

Then there is the thorny issue of Council Tax Support in England…hundreds of different schemes in England. Some have a similar “minimum income floor” type scheme for the self employed and I do not see how such schemes can be changed at this late stage unless specific powers are given….with the decision letters and bills having just gone out.

...

Just on the narrow issue of CTR MIF, I think most affected schemes either include general discretion on MIF or MIF can be wriggled out of by deeming a (much) longer start-up period appropriate so hopefully this won’t too big an issue.