Appeal – separated but in the same property

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    I have my first appeal from a customer claiming that she has been seperated from her husband since 2004 but residing in a three bedroom property with her daughter so should be exempt from the 14% reduction as her husband sleeps in a seperate bedroom.


    Mrs has claimed HB/CTB continuousy since 2005 with her 'seperated' husband as her partner on her 2005 claim form and reviews in 2007 and 2010 and her husband has claimed IS/JSA/ESA since 2005 with his 'seperated' wife as his partner. The tenancy is in joint names.


    While keeping an open mind pending further clarification and assuming the appeal isn't just an excuse to try an avoid the 14% reduction – what possible outcomes can you see if I accept Mrs has been single and seperated from her husband since first claiming HB/CTB in 2005?


    Well one thing to keep in mind if you accept that they have been seperated since 2005 is, she’s going to have a pretty big overpayment, as I can’t see any alternative than to amend her HB claim to possibly 50% liability from this date but at least 66.6% from 2005 (1 bedroom for her and 1 for the kid). You do have the option in HB to amend liability as you wish, even 100/0 between 2 joint tenants, but I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case in this scenario.

    So say the rent is £75pw, if she’s mannipulating the scheme to save £10.50 a week reduction, you’ll be hitting her with around a £9,000 overpayment.

    It’d take her nearly 16 and a half years of bedroom tax savings to break even :O


    Customer has now responded advising they are not ‘separated’ but just sleep in separate bedrooms due to her husbands disability.

    While I sympathise with those couples who have a partner with such severe disabilities that they cannot share a bed or bedroom until such time the legislation changes then the reduction applies.

    I will be giving the couple some good news though, we were previously unaware her husband had been awarded DLA C so now they won’t have a council tax reduction (in our council those who receive DLA C are classed as vulnerable for LCTS) and there won’t be a non dependant deduction – I will be backdating the changes resulting in credits on their CTAX account and a large credit onto their rent account.

    So her appeal, although unsuccessful, has resulted in an increase in her LCTS and HB.

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