A Stupid Question on Rent-Free Periods.

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    I know I’m missing something obvious but cannot work out what.

    There is no rent liability during a rent free period and there cannot, therefore, be any entitlement to HB.

    If there is no entitlement to HB the award must come to an end via a superceding decision and a new claim made.

    I’m not aware of any LAs which actually “cancel” benefit but cannot work out how it is “reinstated” at the end of the period.

    Kevin D

    A very good point Pete. Had [b:9bcc568b33]CH/4714/2003[/b:9bcc568b33] been allowed to stand, there would have been no problem. But, the government in their infinite wisdom, decided to change the law so that it reflected the original policy intention. And, lo, yet another fine example of chronically myopic forethought on the part of the DWP was born.

    In short Pete, I think your analysis must be correct. On the face of it, the natural instinct is to simply stop “benefit” for those particular weeks. The trouble is, isn’t this the same as using “£999.00” for weeks not covered by JSA(IB) et al?

    Playing devil’s advocate, I can see this scenario happening…..

    HB paid; rent free weeks; “HB” continues.

    Some months / years later, an “overpayment” is identified. As a rep, one of the first things I would now do is to require the LA to furnish me with a full list of all “entitlement” AND payments made [b:9bcc568b33]from the beginning of the claim[/b:9bcc568b33]. I would then trawl for any gaps. If there were any gaps at all, I would argue that any “benefit” paid for any period after the gap(s) was NOT in fact HB and, therefore, the HB regs were not engaged. In support of that argument, yep, back to [b:9bcc568b33]CH/0269/2006[/b:9bcc568b33].

    As I see it, the LAs only argument is to somehow get rent free weeks recognised as “entitlement”; albeit “nil”. Not a very strong argument, me thinks.

    As suggested in a previous post, this ludicrous situation is (relatively) easily solved. All it needs is a small change to [b:9bcc568b33]para 2 of Sch 7 to the CSPSSA 2000[/b:9bcc568b33] (or a reg change, so long as an Act allows it) along the lines of the CSPSSA being disapplied for a short period (say, 4 weeks max? for no more than 2 occasions in any 12 months?). It would need careful wording to avoid other equally nonsense situations, but in my view this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of considerable urgency by the DWP. So, that’ll be a couple of years then?

    Suggestion to the DWP: Bring back benefit periods. You know it makes sense. So, no chance of that then?



    I was afraid of that. I did not believe they could have got it wrong again (makes me as stupid as them I guess!) 😯

    Still, back to the second part of my question – any LAs out there ending entitlement when there are rent free weeks?

    Just to add insult to injury, if it is subsequently “cancelled” and the claimant made a claim for backdating I would suspect it would be almost impossible to refuse – the L.A. did not know the claimant was not getting HB, how could the claimant. 😈

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