Cheque payments of HB

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  • #23522

    Hi all

    Just wondering what your LA’s are doing with regard to payment by cheque.

    Does anyone out there not offer payment by cheque and insist that the claimant has a bank account?

    Kevin D

    [quote:5bfd85b82e]Does anyone out there not offer payment by cheque and insist that the claimant has a bank account?[/quote:5bfd85b82e]

    I am personally aware of one or two LAs who make life very difficult for clmts who want cheques; but in my view it is unlawful to “insist” on any particular method of payment.

    [b:5bfd85b82e]HBR 91(1)[/b:5bfd85b82e] makes it clear that an LA [u:5bfd85b82e][b:5bfd85b82e]shall[/b:5bfd85b82e][/u:5bfd85b82e] pay HB [b:5bfd85b82e]having regard to the needs and convenience of the [u:5bfd85b82e]clmt[/u:5bfd85b82e][/b:5bfd85b82e].

    LAs who “impose” a particular method of payments to the exclusion of other methods are acting beyond the law.

    There is one scenario in particular why a clmt may prefer to be paid by cheque. If their “main” account is overdrawn, a bank can recall an overdraft, in full, on demand. If a BACS payment happened to go in close to such an action, that payment may get swallowed by the bank leaving the clmt with no means to pay the rent.

    But, if a clmt has another account, s/he can make a judgement call as to whether their “main” account can take the strain at the time of any particular HB payment. Once payment is set up by BACS, I don’t see many LAs running to keep changing the account details for paying HB. And, generally speaking, not especially promptly.



    Aside from the legalities (IMO Kevin is right on this), there are also practical problems:

    There are some people who cannot get access to even a basic account – for example, people with fraud convictions or who are undischarged bankrupts.

    Some people have strong ethical, concientious or religious objections – for example against interest bearing accounts or against lending as an undesirable activity per se.

    Others live in areas where there are no banks (rural villages, many poor urban areas) and HB cannot be paid into a Post Office Card account, so they have to live by using cash.

    Offering a choice of payment options is not only legally required, but empowering and in tune with customer needs.

    Useful leaflet from Citizens Advice:

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