Reply To: Break in entitlement


The Regs say that an LHA is set if the claimant lives in in appropriate accommodation and on or after 7 April 2008 one of the following happens:

– a claim or CMS input doc
– a change of address in a non-LHA case
– size criteria-affecting changes, changes of address or annewal reviews in an existing LHA case

The Regs do not say anything about a gap in entitlement being required – it was simply our assumption in this thread that you would not need to be claiming HB unless your previous claim had ended. But it is possible to be required to make a new claim without any gap in entitlement, for example when there is an EP. Also, a surviving partner claiming within a month of the previous claimant’s death will often experience no gap in entitlement but there is a new claim in that person’s name for the first time.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that most of the people who go onto LHA by virtue of a new claim/CMS doc will be brand new claimants or people who have been off the books in recent weeks/months. In other words, a “claim” is required from both new and returning customers. [That takes us back to the debate about whether you are an existing or returning customer when your award is interrupted for a short period].

Of course a claimant who is already on HB and who therefore does not need to make a new claim at all might still do so – I suspect that is especially likely when a “standard” means-tested claimant goes onto a CMS “primary benefit” because the JC+ interview script will generate “relevant info”. I think Reg 13C(2) should be read as meaning that LHA will apply in circumstances where a new claim/CMS info is actually required rather than in any case where the claimant or DWP supplies it superfluously. To put it simply, if there is a break in claim (but when I say “break” that includes EP with no break, and arguably also does not include short breaks with no new claim needed).

Would the Commissioners, I wonder, take the view that the claimant can “force” himself/herself onto LHA juist by submitting an unnecessary claim? I would not think so, but until they are asked we don’t know.