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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Housing costs  →  Thread

UC and LHA - ‘your Local council sets the rate so send your MR to them’ 

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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Claimant age 25, 2 small children, 2-bed private rent flat.

UC have awarded the one-bedroom rate and told her that applies as she is under 35.

Claimant requests MR and gets this response: 

‘as it states on your statement it is the local authority limit
if you have an issue with that please contact your local council as they set the limit not Universal Credit’

A pointed reminder that it s UC’s decision and interpretation of the facts - plus who actually sets the LHA - has been sent.

Is this sort of response familiar?

 

Vonny
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Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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Do they actually know there is this thing called advice for decision makers with three whole chapters covering housing costs?

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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This case has been referred to us by an MP so I am hoping to make a few points about how UC is run…...

andyrichards
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City services - Brighton and Hove City Council

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Perhaps worth pointing out that actual LHA rates have never been set by local authorities.

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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andyrichards - 17 January 2022 09:56 AM

Perhaps worth pointing out that actual LHA rates have never been set by local authorities.

Ohhh yes! Just composing a little message to the MP. My cat deleted the first draft…..

Jo_Smith
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Citizens Advice Hillingdon

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I have never received this type of response, despite dealing with many LHA-related errors in UC awards.
That confirms my suspicion that first-tier agents and call handlers do not have sufficient resources and training but most importantly, no access to fast, adequate support if they have queries and don’t know the answers.
As a result, they make it up as they go along and pass it on to unsuspecting and often vulnerable claimants.
This has deteriorated even further with subcontracting telephone service to Serco/Capita. I can detect fairly quickly, when I call UC Helpline, if I speak to DWP employer (who demonstrates higher level of knowledge) or subcontractor (who often mask lack of knowledge by arrogance).

Andrew, were the kids included in the award, i.e. did your client get child responsibility elements?

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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Hi all - message from client, the whole situation has been very suddenly rectified.

But I agree with Jo (see above) that there are continuing signs of poor training and, when faced with queries, making stuff up rather than checking with someone who knows,

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

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Andrew Dutton - 17 January 2022 10:00 AM
andyrichards - 17 January 2022 09:56 AM

Perhaps worth pointing out that actual LHA rates have never been set by local authorities.

Ohhh yes! Just composing a little message to the MP. My cat deleted the first draft…..

You need to get that sorted before the next book.

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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‘You need to get that sorted before the next book.’

I believe she is in the pay of literature lovers everywhere, trying to stop me poisoning the well!