Carer means less LHA?

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    I wonder if I could seek some advice about a change to benefit following the 2nd bedroom provision.

    Customer’s anniversary date 15.07.11 and up to this date, was receiving the LHA excess at the maximum £15.00

    We now find out that he is entitled to the 2nd bedroom for a carer and as a result, load back to 01.04.11.

    As we have amended the LHA rate in force, the excess is not payable from April and the system is deeming this as an overpayment.

    Can I just check whether anyone has found a way of amending this? Ideally, I would like to award the 2nd bedroom only from July but as the need was in place in April, I can’t see that I can but would just like to seek advice on this please? In my mind, I would probably write off the o/p but would like to see if there is a way where I could pay more than the rent up to July and then use the higher LHA rate from the anniversary on?


    Did you know enough about the claimant to make it seem likely in advance of April 2011 that she might well be one of the people entitled to an extra room? It would be a fairly small visible group I think: private tenants receiving DLA on either LHA or LRR/CRR and, depending on what searchable fields your system contains, having on the face of it a spare room. Failure to run a report and contact those people in advance could be an official error, which would mean that in the vanishingly small number of cases where this results in an overpayment it is non-recoverable … and that achieves the same result you are after.

    If the claimant’s qualification route for the extra room is more obscure – she isn’t on DLA for example – it is probably not an official error: it’s just one of those mishaps that are no-one’s fault and it would be recoverable but probably a very strong candidate for a discretionary write-off.

    No way around the technically correct date though – the extra room does indeed apply immediately and, this being an LHA event occurring after the amending regs came into force, the £15 drops out on that date.

    Andy Thurman

    I pretty much agree with Peter.

    With tongue firmly in cheek, though, I am wondering whether you could argue DWP error on the basis that they have introduced a legislative change that is too ‘random’ to possibly administer effectively!


    Thank you both – I find this so frustrating as this property is solely occupied by those with severe disabilities and so the carer is required but as a result of trying to find out how to benefit them, we have effectively cut their awards and ended up with o/p of over £900 total.

    I might sit and think about DWP error (seeing as they don’t really check these anymore!) but sadly, think that we will be left with an unrecoverable o/p and having cut the customer’s benefits. Although it is only their excess they are losing!

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