Reply To: New Claims


I have read this thread and others on a similar theme in the recent past and find it hard to accept that once a claimant applies for and is awarded HB it will stay in payment, whether he or she wants, until a change in circumstances extinguishs any entitlement.
Surely this over-rides an individuals common law right to either claim or not claim, or receive or not receive, any state benefit and that if an individual communicates to the benefits office that he/she wants his claim terminated we should insist ‘ sorry, you formally made the claim and are now stuck with it whether you want it or not’.
Until I am otherwise convinced, my view and instruction to my staff is to terminate entitlement in such situations, obviously being alert to and reacting to any information that might suggest entitlement should have ended sooner.
Used to be common practice, and still is, for DWP fraud officers to ‘persuade’ a claimant to sign off/end their claim where they were suspicious about the declared circumstances but couldn’t quite establish beyond doubt that there was other income, that the partner was resident, etc.

On the subject, here’s a poser for LHA puposes, as this is the thread under which the issue has been raised; if a landlord and tenant colluded and the tenancy, including liability to pay, is formally ended surely that information would require the claim to be reviewed and subsequently terminated.Nothing to stop a new tenancy and liability being created a week or so later necessitating a new claim.OK,I hear you all cry that the new tenancy has been created to take advantage of HB. So what would you then do? Accept the claim but assess using the old rental liability or what?

My bigger worry is that we have an awful lot of claims which started out as a short assured tenancy or an assured tenancy for a fixed period but the tenant has continued to live in the accommodation beyond that tenancy end date without a new period of tenancy as long as the expired tenancy conditions continue to be met , specifically the rent paid.No reason why we should terminate the HB so they run on. Landlords with accommodation that might attract a higher LHA may seek to end these tenancy ‘run-ons’ with a view to bringing in new tenants with a new LHA claim.Could be a lot of upheaval for some vulnerable people.I know the voluntary sector, especially CPAG, are worried about this consequence of phasing in LHA for new claimants only.

What a mess this improvement/simplification is turning out to be.