Another moving house question …

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    A little debate going on here …

    Claimant moves into our area on 4 April 2008. She submits an application form on 8 April 2008. We have confirmed with her previous authority that she was in receipt of HB up to the date of move. So, if it’s a change of circumstances we can pay from the start of the liability and it’s “old scheme”, if it’s a new claim it’s LHA. (This is a standard claim.)

    Is there any reason why a change of address involving two authorities should not be treated as a change of circumstances?


    Although it is ‘technically’ a CiC, it is a new area and therefore a new claim


    Where does it say that in the regs?


    I’m sure this can be better argued, but my thoughts:

    It probably doesn’t in so many words. However, a claim has to be made to the relevant authority. This implies that HB/CTB is a benefit administered separately by these.
    Therefore, one LA will have ended entitlement on a move out of area as it is no longer responsible for the award.. In order for entitlement to begin at his new address, a new claim will be needed. Therefore, usual start date rules apply.


    The counter argument – a change of address is now classed as a change of circumstances, and there is no explicit mention in the regulations of a change of address being grounds for the end of entitlement. Yes, the new authority requires a fully completed application form, but that is for the reason that it does not hold all the financial, household etc information that was supplied to the original authority – in other words, it is simply an administrative matter.

    The DWP Guidance Manual states where there is a change of address outside the first authority’s area, the authority may terminate the award. Again, this is an administrative matter – what the DWP are saying is that if you know for certain that the claimant has left your administrative area, there is no need to go through the palaver of suspension prior to termination.

    HB is a national scheme – is it really the policy intention that, in a case such as the one I have described in my first post, a person should lose a week’s benefit simply because they have moved from one administrative area to another? Does the same thing happen with JSA and IS when a person moves from Billericay to Benbecula, or is entitlement continuous? (In this case there is more to it than a week’s benefit – if the start dates are determined by change of circumstances rules, the claimant is “old scheme”. If the start dates are determined by new claim rules, she is under LHA, and in this case worse off.)

    If you know for certain that HB was in payment at the previous authority up to the date of the move, why not go ahead and treat it as a change of circumstances, as is the intention of the changes introduced by the Government? For administrative purposes you may wish to record it on your computer system as a new claim, but where is it written in law that you cannot apply the change of circumstances rules to determine your start dates?


    I don’t think there is a definitive answer, but this was also an issue pre-LHA.


    Considering your claimant’s HB is only going to start from the 14th April 2008, I’d probably try and establish whether she is going to claim an (inverted comma) back-date or not before you decide whether it is going to be LHA or not.

    (Actually, thinking about it some more, it’s only really an issue for those claimants who move [i:005c308061]before[/i:005c308061] 07/04/08 but claim [i:005c308061]after[/i:005c308061] this date….)


    Backdating is a solution, true, but I see nothing in law which prevents us from deciding the start date on our “new” application under the change of circumstances rules … quicker and simpler than faffing about with a backdate request.

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