DPH for ctb debt

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    Jacqui Fowler

    Customer owes 18.54 council tax for period 30 January 2005 to 10 April 2005 Reason he did not make his claim for benfit in time and it was not backdated. Customer appealed against our refusal to backdate the claim from 7 February 2005 to 10 April 2005 and the appeals service threw his appeal out, so the debt is due.

    He now wants us to write the council tax debt off because he cannot afford to pay it. It has been passed to me for DHP, he is on full benefit at the moment, but if we pay dhp, it will be for the period that his backdated claim was refused, I have difficulty with this, as it seems like he is saying can’t pay wont pay, I want a dhp .

    I know I will have to consider DHP, but as he is already getting 100% benefit from 9 May 2005 before this he only had 29 pence a week to pay.
    Most of the debt is for a period that he did not claim benefit. Would others pay this.


    You cannot pay a DHP for any period where there is no entitlement to CTB (Regs 2 and 3 Discretionary Financial Assistance Regs 2001).

    As for the period where he got some CTB you can only award a DHP up to the level of the council tax liability (Reg 4).

    It looks like you can’t help him very much. Your Council Tax Section, on the other hand, does have the power to help him under S13A of the LGFA 1992.


    I now question myself…….

    I thought there was no backdate options with DHP? 😕


    By “backdate”, I guess you mean a retrospective payment? (For example, claimant asks for a DHP today, but has been experiencing difficulty for the past three months, can you start the DHP award from three months ago?)

    There was a lengthy discussion about this kind of thing on the boards some time ago. As I recall, the general consensus was that there is nothing to stop you paying a retrospective DHP, provided there was some entitlement to benefit for the whole of the period(s) in question. I have always held that view myself, and have made a good number of retrospective awards, the most recent being last week when a DHP was awarded from mid-December 2005 onwards, although the DHP request was only made in late January 2006.


    I’m with Andy I on this one.
    I’m not aware of anything that says I can’t “backdate” the award of a DHP, so I, therefore, can’t see any problem with the principle of doing it. 😯
    The practice will depend on whether the regs and guidance, both national and local, have been satisfied, and then on the facts of each individual case – it is “discretionary” – so why not…if it fulfills your local criteria 😉 8)


    Definitely agree with Andy & Jon.

    The DHP Guide says:

    [quote:9d1329f6c6]Time limits for supply of information
    19. There are no prescribed time limits.[/quote:9d1329f6c6]

    [quote:9d1329f6c6]Start and end date of award
    23. There are no requirements in regulations as to the date a claim should be treated as made or the date that payment should start/end.[/quote:9d1329f6c6]


    If the DWP guidance agrees with me, (thanks for the references Gerry) I may have to revise my position on this one…………. 😉 8)

    Jacqui Fowler

    Thanks for your replies,

    Rightly or wrongly I have decided to pay him 3 weeks DHP at 6.18 a week for a period he was on benefit. This amount is less on a weekly bais than his council tax liability which is 11 36 a week.
    I made this decision because there is nothing to say we have to deduct benefit received when deciding on the amount of a DHP.

    Jacqui Fowler

    Here is my question to the DWp and their DWP response to my enqjuiry

    Seems like I can do what I have done

    From: Jones Dave WWEG Housing Costs [mailto:Dave.Jones@dwp.gsi.gov.uk]
    Sent: 13 March 2006 15:33
    To: Fowler, Jacqui
    Subject: RE: DHP


    As you say the DHP regulations do not require you to take account of the amount of CTB being paid when working out the amount of a DHP toward a shortfall in a person’s ability to pay their council tax. However, they do specify that a DHP can not be higher than a person’s liability for council tax.

    This is deliberate as the DHP regulations effectively replaced the former provision in CTB regulation 51(5). Obviously an application has to be considered on its own merits and in the majority of cases an authority would reasonably take account of the CTB in payment, but it not bound to do so and can decide to ignore the benefit paid if it is reasonable to do so.

    Dave J

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Fowler, Jacqui [mailto:J.Fowler@sholland.gov.uk]
    Sent: 10 March 2006 10:32
    To: Dave.Jones@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
    Subject: DHP

    I am looking for clarification on the maximum amount of DHP that can be paid. My case relates to CTB.

    DHP Reg 4 says The amount of a discretionary housing payment (if calculated as a weekly sum) shall not exceed, in a case where the need for further financial assistance arises as a consequence of the liability to make –

    (a) periodical payments in respect of a dwelling which the person occupies as his home, other than payments in respect of council tax, an amount equal to the amount of the aggregate of the payments specified in regulation 10(1) of the housing benefit regulations less the aggregate of the amounts referred to in regulation 10(3)(b)(i) to (iii) of those regulations, calculated on a weekly basis in accordance with Regulation 69 and 70 of those regulation; or

    (b) payment in respect of Council Tax, an amount equal to the weekly amount of council tax liability of that person calculated on a weekly basis.

    4(b) Does not state that you have to deduct benefit entitlement. The Council Tax liability is decided by the charge less any discounts exemptions. This Reg does not specify that you must deduct any benefit from the Council Tax Liability. It can be interpreted that as long as you do not exceed the Full Council Tax liability (after Council Tax discounts or exemptions) you can award a DHP up to this amount on a weekly basis without deducting Council Tax benefit first. EG

    Council Tadx Liability 11.36 A WEEK
    Benefit Entitlement 10.00 A WEEK
    DHP 5.00 A WEEK ( This payment will not exceed the Council Tax liability of £11.36) It would not appear to be unlawful because the regs do not say that any benefit must be deducted from the weekly Ctax Liability.

    I can appreciate that this is may not be the intention of the regulations, it does appear to be a legal loophole, could you please give me your comments on this.


    Jacqui Fowler

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