Reply To: Underlying entitlement following change of address


The Regs look at this type of case as if it involves two separate awards. The intention is to ensure that the landlord of property 1 cannot use a technical argument to avoid repaying an overpayment made after the claimant has moved: so the Regs say that there can be no underlying entitlement. However, the intention is that this is entirely without prejudice to the claimant’s continuing entitlement to a separate award of HB on property 2.

There is no need to claim for the new address because the claimant remains entitled to HB at all times in your area. The correct approach is:

1. If HB for property 1 paid to landlord, there is an overpayment on property 1 (subject HB on two homes for four weeks if appropriate). This overpayment is ring-fenced from the new award on property 2. If any o/p paid to landlord for property 1 is to be recovered from the claimant, this cannot be done by offsetting the whole of the award for property 2 against the amount paid for property 1 for the same period – as I say, the o/p for P1 is ring-fenced if it was made to the landlord.

2. If HB for property 1 was paid to the claimant, this can be viewed as payment of HB for property 2 (again subject to HB on two homes if appropriate).


3. If eligible rent on property 2 is higher and reported outside a month, or if entitlment to HB on two homes applies for first four weeks and reported outside a month, the award for property 2 is limited to the amount that the claimant was getting for property 1 until the day on which the Council was informed of the move.

As ever, it is possible to come up with different interpretations but both Regs 102 & 104 (overpayments) and Reg 79 (changes of circumstance) were amended on the same date in 2006 in order to give effect to the approach described above. That is certainly how it is intended to work and it also seems to me to be the fairest: basically, the claimant has already had his HB for those weeks if the money went to him; if it didn’t go to him, he hasn’t had it yet.