Absence from home

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    Mr. K, a pensioner went abroad to visit family in March 2004, whilst abroad he travelled to Kurdish Iraq and was falsely imprisoned for about 5months. Information received from his Solicitor was that he was kept in appalling conditions which traumatised him. He was imprisoned from 25/03/04 to 25/08/04. He obviously exceeded the 13week rule. He failed to notify the LA he was going abroad.

    Mr. K requested b/dating from 30/08/04 after he arrived in UK. LA overlooked his request and never considered backdating request. His Soilicitor thinks that he has continuous good cause for not claiming HB & CTB. Mr. K was still receiving DLA for the period he was abroad.

    Any contribution will be much appreciated.

    Kevin D

    More info needed.

    1) what date did the clmt’s absence start?

    2) at the start of his absence, what was his intended return date?

    3) at what point did the intention change? (Or, when was it taken out of the clmt’s control?)

    4) was the imprisonment a formal sentence? In any case, was there any form of quantification for the time in prison? If yes, did that change at any time?

    5) when did the LA first become aware of the absence (and how)?

    6) when did the LA administer & notify the clmt (of the end of benefit)?

    7) when did the clmt first request “backdating” & for what period?

    8 ) what were the reasons actually given in support of “good cause”? (It’s not clear if this is the trauma referred to).

    9) how is DLA entitlement believed to be relevant in this case?



    My first thoughts when I saw this query were:

    – has HB/CTB entitlement actually ended at all? ( Kevin’s list of questions will establish that). If not, he never had to make a new claim;

    – in any case, as a pensioner, he doesn’t need to show good cause

    Then I saw the dates. The absence ended in August 2004, which was during the “take-on year” after Pension Credit and the associated HB/CTB changes came into affect on 6 October 2003. During that year, any 60+ claim was automatically backdated to 6 Oct 03 (assuming the claimant was entitled on that date) or the 60th birthday, whichever is later. There was no special provision for people who were not entitled to HB on 6/10/03 but then had a change of circumstance later (other than their 60th birthday) – for those people, it seems that any delay in claiming was still subject to the “good cause” provisions before October 2003.

    Finally, I wondered whether the problem here was that the Council could see no good reason for the claimant’s failure to chase up the claim that he made after he came back from Iraq? If that is the issue, I don’t think there is a problem. He can hardly be blamed for the Council’s delay. If he still has an outstanding claim waiting for a decision, there is nothing to stop that decision being made now.


    To answer the questions.

    1. With the date his absence started, I don’t know the exact date because he failed to notify the LA he was going abroad.

    2. Don’t know that either as LA was never informed of the absence and when he intended to return. However according to his solicitor his intension was to go away for a ‘couple of months’.

    3. LA never heard from him whilst he was away until the 13 Sept 2004 when he completed a new HB A/F.

    4. I will need to find out if the imprisonment was a formal sentence. LA does not have the details of his imprisonment.

    5. LA first became aware of the absence in September 2004.

    6. He had been evicted when he returned for rent arrears and was given a temporary acommodation for which he applied h/b for. His claim however had not been in payment from August 2003 due to failure to return a renewal form at the time.

    7. Clmt first requested backdating on the 13 September 2004 from 30 August 2004. His new claim for the new address started from 08 September 2004.

    8. No reasons have been given in support of ‘good cause’.

    9. I suppose DLA is irrelevant here.

    HB/CTB entitlement is currently in payment. At the time of his absence he was 60.

    Kevin D

    Peter neatly tidied up my post – especially in identifying my oversight about backdating. If the period of “going back” is less than 52 weeks, it is automatic, subject to otherwise being entitled.

    So, the only issue is occupancy and temporary absence.

    At the moment, there isn’t enough info, or evidence. Harsh as it may seem, the onus is on the clmt to support his claim. I’d ask for all of the info regarding dates / intention etc, plus evidence of his imprisonment. Assuming the clmt is a British national, the British Embassy / Consul would normally be aware of such a case and should be able to confirm at least some of the factual details relating to the imprisonment).


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