Absence from home – exceptional circumstances

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  • #31592
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Hi folks, can someone possibly offer me some advice please.

    I have a claimant (young woman in her 30’s) who last Nov 09 was subjected to a very violent assault. As a result, she ended up in a coma in hospital for several months and has only now recently been moved to another specialized hospital where her treatment is continuing.

    The claimant has 2 young children (under 10) who are being looked after in the home by the claimant’s mother i.e. by their grandmother. We have been paying HB/CTB under the “receiving care elsewhere for up to 52 weeks” however I am now faced with a dilemma because the new specialist hospital have advised that the patient will be with them for at least 6 moths which will take her over the 52 weeks (probably by a few weeks but possibly longer dependant on her progress or lack of it).

    The grandmother has been keeping in touch with benefits and giving us regular updates about her daughter. She is having to cope with a very difficult situation and as you can imagine this is a very emotional case too where a person has been the victim of a violent crime and there are young children involved….

    I am unsure if the grandmother would be able to claim in her own right (I am thinking maybe she capital over £16K or her income is too high for her to qualify….) where does that leave the claimant in terms of her HB? I have tried to make sense of the guidance in the shack book and it seems to indicate that under certain exceptional circumstances we can carry on paying HB up to 52 weeks (even if we know at this stage that the absence is likely to exceed the 52 weeks) but what will happen once the 52 weeks are up?

    Is there any discretion the LA can apply in extending the 52 weeks maybe on a week by week basis? I have also read in the Legal regulations hand book that “the term ‘unlikely to substantially exceed’ relates to periods of absence of up to 15 months but it is for the individual authority to determine this subject, subject to appeal”

    Has anyone had a similar experience that you can share with me and tell me how you were able to get around this?

    I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

    Regards

    Selina

    #88303
    jmembery
    Participant

    In exceptional circumstances, as appears to be the case here, if the absence is going to be more than 52 weeks, but less than 15 months, you can pay for up to 52 weeks. GM A3.532

    #88304
    jmembery
    Participant

    The quote from the GM in full

    Temporary absence may be longer than 52 weeks
    3.532 A person whose absence that is ‘unlikely to substantially exceed 52 weeks* also qualifies. This may be considered only in exceptional circumstances. It should not be interpreted as the normal rule for all or any particular groups of claimant.

    * Unlikely to substantially exceed 52 weeks’ should be interpreted as a total absence of up to about 15 months.

    3.533 Although the absence may be longer than 52 weeks, benefit may only be paid for a maximum of 52 weeks while the claimant is absent.

    3.534 Take account of all the circumstances before deciding whether to allow benefit for an absence that is likely to last longer than 52 weeks and consider each case on its facts. For example, an absence of more than 52 weeks may be considered temporary when a claimant has been prevented from returning home by an unanticipated event, or their discharge from hospital has been delayed by a relapse.

    #88305
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:6f7c1fde9b=”jmembery”]In exceptional circumstances, as appears to be the case here, if the absence is going to be more than 52 weeks, but less than 15 months, you can pay for up to 52 weeks. GM A3.532[/quote:6f7c1fde9b]

    Thanks jmembery, this does make it a clearer as I was struggling to understand the exact meaning in the shack book yesterday. I am also going to see my manager this morning and discuss the case…

    Thanks again for responding.

    Selina

    #88306
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Wild suggestion – get 1 of the kids to claim?

    #88307
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:8ccec5f375=”MartinW”]Wild suggestion – get 1 of the kids to claim?[/quote:8ccec5f375]

    They’re both under 10 Martin…so don’t think that would work 🙁

    I am really trying to find a way to pay this claim because this has been such a horrific case (was in the papers and everything last year) however obviously we can only act within the regs and cannot let emotion rule our actions. I am just hoping there is some reg or loop hole that would allow us to carry on paying…

    #88308
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:d55beac557]They’re both under 10 Martin…so don’t think that would work [/quote:d55beac557]
    As I said it’s a wild suggestion ……. but there’s no age limit on claiming HB.

    #88309
    Anonymous
    Guest

    My first thought was that one of the children could claim, with ther grandma either a non-dep or normally residing elsewhere. As Martin said there is no age limit for HB.

    Few suggestions outside the HB scheme (thinking outside the box here)

    Presumably the claimant will get some kind of compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This could be used to pay the rent. Details here:
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/VictimsOfCrime/DG_177421

    Maybe have a word with the landlord and see if they’ll allow the family to stay there rent free for a period after the 52 weeks expire, or if they’ll accept a significant reduction in the rent. Depending on the length of time, this could be a lot cheaper then evicting the family and finding new tenants.

    #88310
    selina_neville
    Participant

    Thanks Martin and Michael, this is very good information! I am liaising with my manager and will put forward your suggestions as there may be some mileage there….good thinking!!

    Thanks

    Selina

    #88311
    valda
    Participant

    Hi Selina, maybe refer your client’s mother to their local Authority Housing Advice whi if HB is unable to pay after the 52 weeks may be able to assist out of their prevention fund to prevent homelessness.

    #88312
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:4f90434176=”valda”]Hi Selina, maybe refer your client’s mother to their local Authority Housing Advice whi if HB is unable to pay after the 52 weeks may be able to assist out of their prevention fund to prevent homelessness.[/quote:4f90434176]

    Thanks Valda, yet another avenue to explore…thanks 🙂

    #88313
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Is the grandmother liable for rent elsewhere – can she not claim as the person held responsible for paying the rental liability in the absence of the tenant?

    #88314
    DJM
    Participant

    In a similar situation we’ve paid an 8 year old HB – we got his grandfather to be his appointee.

    #88315
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:3010359a81=”madshaz72″]Is the grandmother liable for rent elsewhere – can she not claim as the person held responsible for paying the rental liability in the absence of the tenant?[/quote:3010359a81]

    Hi Shaz, the grandmother is a home owner elsewhere (not claiming). I have a feeling that she would not qualify in her own right…but I am going to see the grandmother in person with my manager so we will be able to get some more info of her personal circs…I also learnt the claimant/tenant is probably going to be paralized for life (this case is so, so sad) so maybe they would have to be re-housed anyway if and when she can come out of hospital.

    #41185
    selina_neville
    Participant

    [quote:1f5880e0ce=”DJM”]In a similar situation we’ve paid an 8 year old HB – we got his grandfather to be his appointee.[/quote:1f5880e0ce]

    Thanks for confirming this as people in my office are a big sceptical as how a child can possibly make a claim… 🙂

    The eldest child in my case is 6. I don’t know how you can explain it to a 6 year old though… Is there no legal requirment that they would need to know what they are applying for?

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