Reply To: HB migration


Hi CF. As I say above this came from discussions between very senior civil servants and parliamentary committees (which are a public record). This was discussed on hbinfo at the time. DWP made their views very clear at the time that Councils had had a very good deal indeed with overpayments (feel free to disagree!). We are talking people at the very top of DWP. I have spoken to them in the past on some issues but not on this.

My current understanding is that when the working age cases are migrated you will be asked to provide the outstanding overpayment to DWP. Certainly they are funding this. But that still leaves a lot of old debt etc, changes, and appeals and the situation with tax credits and migration has been controversial.

We can only wait and see whether debt management will still take OP cases when migration of working age cases is complete.

HBINFO is not always able to report on discussions I am afraid. In fact we have been threatened with prosecution in the past if we did. Just the way it is. HB has often been very political. Those who attended the last HBINFO conference (DWP kindly spoke) will know that we felt it was wrong for DWP to exclude and not fund Councils during the migration process. We had a robust discussion with DWP which we reported at the time. We reported a couple of weeks ago that Shelter had issued a report saying mostly the same as hbinfo.

More and more, the media are saying that UC is not fit for purpose.

Today the Resolution Foundation has said “Universal Credit was designed to address unemployment – to encourage people who can work through incentives and increased conditionality such as stricter rules and sanctions.

“None of that applies if the system deems you unable to work or having limited capability to work. You don’t have that kind of conditionality so you fall outside of what Universal Credit was designed to do.”

All these many years later I am not sure what migration will bring with overpayments and other issues. We can only report what we can from the very highest level of DWP. The DWP staff were very honest at our conference and we said so at the time (whilst saying we felt it was the wrong approach).

On supported accommodation cases, this has been discussed on hbinfo before. As you know DWP paid a lot of people without any evidence during covid. Then tried to revisit these cases. If they got no or not a full response and or the person has moved DWP will usually issue a “stop notice”. The legality of this is VERY disputed and in any event this does not end HB. Most members accept that the Council should then consider continuing the HB claim (usually on nil income and capital bearing in mind the clientele) or maybe using 104 until the end of the tenancy.