Can I net down an OP with underlying entitlement where…..

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  • #38435
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    …..the OP (for the month of May) is at address A (paid to landlord) caused by claimant moving address. But at address B (HB paid to claimant) no award was made for the same period because the claim was made late?

    The change of address is just a change of circumstances so I would normally work out their underlying entitlement for the month of May (i.e. what would have been paid at B if the claim was made on time)and offset the OP accordingly (but not pay out any additional benefit if HB at B is bigger than HB at A).

    I hope you agree so far.

    However a member of my team isn’t keen to let the landlord at A keep the HBOP for May when there was no rent liability so doesn’t want to net down the OP and will recover the gross OP from the landlord.

    you thoughts are…….?

    #108325
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    My first thought here is why the HB at the new address could not be paid? You say that the “claim was made late” but then, correctly, assert that this is just a change of circs. So the “claim” cannot have been made late. :~

    Was the move reported within one month?? If yes, then HB at new address should be paid at whatever rate applies to it. If no, you might have an advantageuos change situation but this does not prevent HB at new address from the date of the move – just prevents paying additional HB. (Not an issue if rent lower/same or the late notification can be allowed due to “special circs”.)

    As you paid the landlord at the old address, you should not offset the old o/p (and can claim subsidy on both the o/p and new address HB) – you must then decide whether you can/should recover from the landlord & notify LL/clmt accordingly.

    #108328
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Thanks Andy, you are right there was no need for a new claim at the new address, I should have said the change of circs was reported late.

    Initially the HB at address A for the month of May was an OP because we new the claimant had moved, but not to where. Then we get details of the new address 2 months later so made an award for the new address from July.

    I can not see why I should not work out underlying entiltement in terms of Reg 104 of the HB regs 2006. :((

    #108330
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    Hi,
    I still think this is a case of normal HB at the new address from the date of the move – you were (I assume) unaware of the move until the end of May (otherwise the o/p could have been prevented?). Once aware, there should be an attempt to contact the claimant requesting details of their circs before being able to make a decision. As this needs to conform to the 1 month time limit, the decision cannot have been made more than one month before the claimant did confirm their new address i.e. a revision of the decision to end HB is appropriate. (If the decision was made prematurely, this should also be revised as it was not properly made.)

    #108339
    Anonymous
    Guest

    There is an assumption underlying the drafting of Regs 104 and 104A: that the payments of HB for the old and new addresses are ringfenced from each other, so the claimant can be overpaid for the old address and underpaid for the new one at the same time. You can claw back the o/p from the HB owing for the new address £1-for-£1 only if the same person is going to be paid at both addresses. If the payee is different, you cannot offset like that.

    Whether the overpayment for the old address is recoverable from the claimant, landlord or both depends whose fault it is that you didn’t find out in time. If it’s only recoverable from the landlord, pay the claimant his full HB for the new address (subject to the advantageous change rule, which would limit the amount in the way Andy says) and invoice the landlord as you normally would. If it is only recoverable from the claimant, you may deduct instalments from the arrears due for the new address. If it is recoverable from both of them, you can do either or both of the above.

    #108446
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Thanks again for the contributions.

    I am never a fan of underlying assumptions (they are in the eye of the beholder, if you know what I mean). Though I see where you are coming from and it makes sense.

    IF there is no entitlement to HB at address B (late notification of change of address) for the period of the OP at address A would you reduce the OP at address B with underlying entitlement? I would.

    #108455
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    Hi Andrew,

    Sorry to keep saying this but late notification of a move does NOT mean no entitlement at the new address. It simply prevents an increase in rent taking effect until after notified.

    #108459
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Hmmmm. I am glad you are repeating yourself. It is starting to get through my skull.

    But….(sorry)…..if the old claim was ended correctly does the (late)reporting of a change of address not the become a new claim?

    I’ll buy you a vurtual pint if you convince me. :beer:

    #108464
    nickkeogh
    Participant

    Think of it as 2 completely different entities, first one is entitlement and the second one is physical payments. Entitlement has been continuous so once that has been established then you don’t have to worry about the claim ending at any point, as it hasn’t.

    Imagine that you hadn’t ended the claim on the system and had input a change of address then the system would have created an “overpayment” for the benefit paid at the previous address and an “underpayment” for the new address. You would then decide what to do with the o/p as Peter has detailed above.

    #108478
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    [quote=AndrewDonald]Hmmmm. I am glad you are repeating yourself. It is starting to get through my skull. But….(sorry)…..if the old claim was ended correctly does the (late)reporting of a change of address not the become a new claim? I’ll buy you a vurtual pint if you convince me. :beer:[/quote]

    With the incentive of beer, let me have a go!!!

    I guess I have to start by saying that – yes – there could be a situation where there would need to be a new claim BUT this should be rare if the legally required process is followed.

    If an LA is advised by a 3rd party that a claimant has moved, this is not enough info on which to base a decision (because we know a COA is a change of circs & we do not know whether there is an ongoing liability or not). A suspension must be placed and a request for info sent to the claimant – this seems futile if you “know” the claimant has left the property but it is a requirement & any letter can be sent in a ‘normal’ (not “DNR”) envelope! (A phone call will, of course, also help a lot if possible!)

    A decision can be made one month after this which, of course, carries appeal rights. If further evidence is then received within one month of the decision it should be revised. (Bear in mind that notification regarding council tax can/should be used here.) There is, of course, the scope for ‘late’ revision requests for another 12 months beyond that point – any ‘claim’ after the month should first be considered as this and allowed if appropriate (i.e. if “special circs” can be deemed to apply).

    If the decision to end HB is taken before the info request has been made & time allowed, it should be subject to an “anytime” revision as the decision was taken in error.

    #108716
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Thanks for taking the time to give me the extra detail.

    Sorry for the delay in responding, I wasnt reneging on the pint – I was on holiday from the Friday night (honest).

    I now have it clear in my head what is to be done.

    If you’re ever in Fife look me up and I’ll take you for a nice cold pint, lol.

    Thanks again,

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