Reply To: Prisoner – sentenced and on remand

Peter Barker

You’ve got two things to consider here:

– at what point, if any, did the claimant cease to be entitled to HB
– from whom is any overpayment recoverable?

If you have made a decision that the overpayment is recoverable from the landlord, the landlord is entitled to challenge that on entitlement grounds, i.e. that the claimant was entitled to some or all of the alleged overpayment. There is a lot of missing information and I wouldn’t allow this anywhere near a Tribunal without finding out more about the date when the claimant first became absent from home, whether he was initially on remand, if so when he was sentenced, the length of the sentence and the earliest likely release date.

If you conclude in the light of all that information that there has been an overpayment, it certainly seems to be recoverable from someone as there is no obvious official error. If you accept that the landlord did not know the claimant was absent from home, it would seem that the overpayment is recoverable only from the claimant or appointee who is the one who has failed to disclose a change of circumstance. But what kind of supported accommodation provider doesn’t know their tenant is absent? I’d say the landlord has a bit of explaining to do there.