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    Any opinions much appreciated.

    Lady moves into a property in our area (she has claimed before but the is a 5 month gap in entitlement) and claims assistance from our Housing Dept in the form of the Rent Deposit Scheme(RD) and Rent in Advance scheme(RIA).

    When she signs the RD and RIA application forms she signs to say that if she wishes to claim HB she needs to contact us (the Benefit section) direct and the claim is her responsibility, this is reiterated to her by a Housing Officer.

    She moves in May and then in July phones us query her HB claim. We have not recieved a claim so we issue a new form which she returns and requests a backdate to May 06 as she claims to have already filled in and returned HB claim form.

    We say no, reconsider and say no again and she appeals. In the meantime the mighty David Cameron writes in as she has written to him about her rent arrears and wants to know what’s going on.

    Is the decision to refuse her BD reasonable?

    (Looking at it again perhaps our Housing Dept could have issued a HB claim form and that is something for us to look into in the future.)



    Most RIA schemes make the tenant complete and sign applications for HB at the time of sign up for the tenancy.

    I would state that your decision is correct without taking this into consideration

    Kevin D

    To my mind there are two options:

    1) if you accept that an earlier claim was in fact made, but was mislaid by the LA, then it would be quite legitimate to assess that claim. That would render backdating irrelevant.

    2) If you’re satisfied that no earlier claim was made, then the crux is simply whether or not she has continous good cause. That is going to depend on what actions the clmt took and what knowledge she had and / or could have obtained. The test for actions is that of “reasonableness” in terms of what could be expected of the clmt; not whether the actions were “understandable”.

    Based strictly on the info given about the info given to the clmt and taking into account that she has claimed before, my view would lean towards backdate refusal on the grounds that continous good cause has not been shown for her failure to claim earlier. It is clear the advice given to the clmt was to contact the Benefits section AND that it was her responsibility. So, unless there was some other reason for the delay……

    Correspondence from a 3rd party (whoever they are) would make no difference to my decision, other than to the extent of taking into account any further relevant evidence / information that may be provided.

    As an aside, given the general lottery status of backdates at Tribunals, I wouldn’t be inclined to attend the hearing.



    I’m sure the fact that your local MP has written (or one of his staff!) will make no difference to your decision.

    Your decision looks, on the face of it, reasonable. However, you say she rang to query her HB claim. Precisely what she said may be the crux of the issue; from what you say there may be the implication that she thought she had made one. If so, she appears to have acted promptly from when you issue a form.


    That’s lovely, I feel a bit more confident with my reply to Big Cam now.

    Thanks for the advice,



    Can I just say that I love it when local authority reps can’t be bothered to attend Tribunal hearings. Makes my job so much easier…….

    Kevin D

    Hi Bob,

    Yep, I understand the point you make, but it’s not about “can’t be bothered”.

    The view I expressed is specifically in relation to (most) backdating appeals – it doesn’t extend to other subjects.

    In my experience, backdating cases have become a lottery. Some Chairs are so clmt friendly, you wonder if they are related to the clmts. On the flip side, there are Chairs who never believe clmts. Based on cases I’ve been involved in, the attendance of the LA has rarely made any difference. On that basis, it just seems to be a waste of resources.

    So, it’s not apathy; more a case of pragmatism however unseemly it may appear.



    Go on, be a devil…award the backdate and write to Mr Cameron telling him you have decided to let sunshine win the day…

    Darren W

    [quote:bbfa82be00=”andy_u_i”]Go on, be a devil…award the backdate and write to Mr Cameron telling him you have decided to let sunshine win the day…[/quote:bbfa82be00]

    Or decline it and write to him and say you are sorry but until he gets in to power he cannot change the regulations to suit his need 😀


    The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Decisions, Appeals and Victory of Sunshine)(General) Regulations 2010…?


    Or 2015? Or later………….perhaps at the same time as compulsory “hoody” hugging is introduced? 😉

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