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Housing Benefit overpayment

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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Joined: 22 July 2013

Hi, this is something quite straightforward but my post-Covid infection brain is completely blank.

Tenant’s friend who lived with her died in August 2019 creating a ‘spare’ bedroom. Her son moved in from March 2020 to July 2021 but no-one informed HB. HB has now hit her with nearly 3 years bedroom tax overpayment for the spare room that was in fact occupied for 16 of those months. Can she just inform them of the son being there and ask HB to revise the overpayment decision or does the fact that it was over 2 years ago mean she is stuck with the overpayment for the whole period? Thanks.

Edit, sorry I am, aware of 12 month exemption rule

[ Edited: 13 May 2022 at 03:12 pm by BC Welfare Rights ]
Stainsby
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Welfare rights adviser - Plumstead Community Law Centre

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This is the hoary old (to use LA parlance) underlying entitlement issue

This means that the amount(s)  “properly payable” needs to be deducted from the purported overpayment(s).

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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The 12-month exemption won’t help unless the friend was also a relative: see Reg 12BA(3) and the definition of “linked person” in Reg 2.

As for the underlying entitlement, the Council might say that it is too late to apply u/e because the overpayment decision has become final after not being challenged within the long-stop time limit of 13 months.  In that case, it is useful to remember that an overpayment is not a “relevant decision” as defined in para 1 of Schedule 7 to the CSP&SS; Act 2000, and is therefore not subject to any of the time limits that apply to the revision of relevant decisions (although it is subject to the normal time limits for an appeal to the Tribunal).

The status of overpayments as something other than a “relevant decision” has been remarked on by the UT from time to time, especially in R(H) 3/04 and more recently in 2016 UKUT 115 AAC.  It can be relied on to argue for underlying entitlement to be factored into an overpayment calculation at any time, even if the time limit for appealing to the Tribunal against the overpayment has long gone as in this case.

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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That’s great, thanks both