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Housing Benefit disregarding Child Care costs during Covid

VLMS
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Grwp Cynefin Welfare team

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Total Posts: 7

Joined: 15 June 2018

HI

I have a client who was is a single parent in receipt of legacy benefits of HB, CTC and WTC. As she is not able to work at present due to Covid -( on full pay) she is therefore not at present using her child care. This has caused her HB claim to become nil and so is forcing her onto UC which she doesn’t want to do as she hopes to return to work very soon and so again use her child care and keep her HB claim open. I notice at CPAG (2019/20) page 435 advises under HB regs that if off sick from work child care costs remain disregarded for 28 wks.
Any advice? Should she challenge the HB decision to close her claim?
Thanks.
VS

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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Is she still paying the childcare costs despite her child not attending?

VLMS
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Grwp Cynefin Welfare team

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Hi Charles

No she isn’t unfortunately but wants to keep that HB claim alive!

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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Then unfortunately I can’t see any way of doing this.

The 28 week rule you mentioned won’t help, as she doesn’t actually have the costs.

This often happens due to WTC only reducing 4 weeks after a reduction in childcare costs. Often though, HB won’t have made a decision before the WTC is reduced, and therefore the HB award can stay alive due to the ‘closed-period supersession’ rule.
Here, the decision appears to have been made either before the WTC reduced, or the WTC reduction wasn’t enough to keep HB entitlement.

Many councils have not yet started using the higher LHA rates, so maybe that could bring her back on? Although the childcare costs presumably stopped prior to the LHA increase, the decision to terminate HB was likely made after the increase, in which case a ‘closed-period supersession’ comes into play again.

VLMS
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Grwp Cynefin Welfare team

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Total Posts: 7

Joined: 15 June 2018

Thanks Charles - sorry did not see this until now.  I need to have a good look at her paperwork which is difficult in Covid Times!