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Is there any situation where a client could receive Housing Benefit and Universal Credit for housing costs at the same time, long term?

Benefits38
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Hello

I have a client who has been receiving Housing Benefit (for eligible Housing Benefit costs) and Universal Credit (for housing costs not eligible for Housing Benefit)  for a couple of years.  It is a joint claim as the couple have a joint tenancy.  The accommodation is supported living.  This situation has been continuing for a couple of years.  Is there any possibility that the client is entitled to this money or is it a mistake?

Elliot Kent
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Certain kinds of supported accommodation are excluded from UC and instead fall in the Housing Benefit scheme. A tenant in this sort of accommodation will often be getting Housing Benefit to pay the rent and then Universal Credit will pay the elements other than housing costs. There is no time limit on this and it is quite possible that this is what is going on here.

There is some information here about the sorts of accommodation covered:
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/universal-credit-specified-accommodation

 

HB Anorak
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Are you saying HB and UC are both paying the same housing costs?  If so, no this definitely should not happen.  One of the awards is wrong (and if I were a betting man …).

If two different sets of housing costs are being paid, it is not very likely that this is correct either - certainly not for that length of time.

Benefits38
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HB Anorak - 10 June 2020 03:04 PM

Are you saying HB and UC are both paying the same housing costs?  If so, no this definitely should not happen.  One of the awards is wrong (and if I were a betting man …).

If two different sets of housing costs are being paid, it is not very likely that this is correct either - certainly not for that length of time.

Thanks for your help.  No Housing Benefit and UC are paying for different housing costs.  HB are paying the housing costs that are eligible for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit are paying for the housing costs not eligible for Housing Benefit.  Both set of costs are for the same property.

HB Anorak
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What on earth …?

OK, can you specify exactly what these respective costs are?  I am genuinely stumped, I cannot imagine what kind of weird set-up this is.

Benefits38
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HB Anorak - 10 June 2020 04:12 PM

What on earth …?

OK, can you specify exactly what these respective costs are?  I am genuinely stumped, I cannot imagine what kind of weird set-up this is.

Housing Benefit is paying the following service charges:-

* Kitchen white goods

* Communal furniture/bills

* Services - telephone line rental

* Services - replacement contingency

* Services - maintenance

* Services - warden

Universal Credit is paying the following (I have copied this directly from the tenancy agreement):-

* Non eligible HB top up - fully furnished one bedroom

* Optional extras - supplement for double occupancy of one bedroom flat

HB Anorak
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If this is specified accommodation, UC shouldn’t be paying anything at all towards it.  The reason why HB isn’t paying those bits is probably because they aren’t eligible for HB - it will be things like personal use of fuel.  Would need to know a bit more about the set-up:

- is the landlord a registered housing association?
- is it exempt (as opposed to merely specified) accommodation?

Those facts would help to narrow down why it is that HB isn’t meeting the full charge, but UC certainly shouldn’t be covering it.

Benefits38
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The landlord is not a registered Housing Association but is a Registered Charity. 

The accommodation is classified as specified but not exempt.

Charles
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Benefits38 - 11 June 2020 09:19 AM

Universal Credit is paying the following (I have copied this directly from the tenancy agreement):-

* Non eligible HB top up - fully furnished one bedroom

* Optional extras - supplement for double occupancy of one bedroom flat

Are you getting this from the tenancy agreement only, or have you seen this on a UC statement as well? If it’s just from the tenancy agreement, perhaps the intention is simply that the tenant is to pay these costs out of their UC award.

Benefits38
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Charles - 11 June 2020 11:12 AM
Benefits38 - 11 June 2020 09:19 AM

Universal Credit is paying the following (I have copied this directly from the tenancy agreement):-

* Non eligible HB top up - fully furnished one bedroom

* Optional extras - supplement for double occupancy of one bedroom flat

Are you getting this from the tenancy agreement only, or have you seen this on a UC statement as well? If it’s just from the tenancy agreement, perhaps the intention is simply that the tenant is to pay these costs out of their UC award.

I am getting this from the tenancy agreement.  However,  the combined amount for “non eligible HB top up” and the “optional extras - supplement for double occupancy of one bedroom flat” is exactly the same as the housing costs listed on the UC statement.

HB Anorak
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Thanks, interesting.

First, UC does not pay for any specified accommodation housing costs at all.  If that is what they are doing, it is wrong.  You are quite sure these amounts are included in the UC award as a housing element?  Not as a third party deduction?  If it’s part of the award, it’s a definite mistake and one of the oddest I have ever heard of.

As for HB, if this is a charity providing specified but not exempt accommodation, the eligible rent should be one of the following:

- if the claimant receives meals and/or the establishment is a hostel, HB should be the lesser of the full rent less ineligible service charges and a Rent Officer’s Local Reference Rent determination
- if meals are not provided and the establishment is not a hostel, HB should be the lesser of the full rent and the LHA.

chacha
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I have come across a lot of stuff, mostly wrong decision by the La, DWP or in fact both on a particular set of facts but nothing like this. I agree with posters, this is not a possible outcome based on the facts you have posted. It is HB and not UC (Housing Element) so I think best thing here, in order to stop further overpayments/debts, is to approach UC and ask them to explain the housing element they are paying because you think it is wrong. 2 years of payments, unless being paid directly to the landlord (And HB being paid directly to the landlord resulting in a credit in the rent account), could become a future problem.

Benefits38
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HB Anorak - 11 June 2020 12:07 PM

Thanks, interesting.

First, UC does not pay for any specified accommodation housing costs at all.  If that is what they are doing, it is wrong.  You are quite sure these amounts are included in the UC award as a housing element?  Not as a third party deduction?  If it’s part of the award, it’s a definite mistake and one of the oddest I have ever heard of.

As for HB, if this is a charity providing specified but not exempt accommodation, the eligible rent should be one of the following:

- if the claimant receives meals and/or the establishment is a hostel, HB should be the lesser of the full rent less ineligible service charges and a Rent Officer’s Local Reference Rent determination
- if meals are not provided and the establishment is not a hostel, HB should be the lesser of the full rent and the LHA.

The amounts are definitely included in the UC award as a housing element, not as a third party deduction. I have double and triple checked this.