Entitlement prior to occupancy

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    I’m sure this has been discussed previously but can’t find it!

    18 year old submits claim for new address (change of cirs) but before the date he’s due to move in he is sent to prison for 3 weeks. He doesn’t physically occupy the property until he is released.

    Social services are acting on his behalf, its a private rented property.

    Can we pay the first 3 weeks. My instinct says no, because there is no implied occupancy, no posessions at the address etc etc

    Could someone please give me the definitive solution! 😀

    many thanks



    I don’t know anything about an earlier discussion – but it was generally held until recently that you cannot be treated as occupying a home before you have physically moved into it. This view was challenged successfully in CH/2957/2004 (reported as R(H)9/05) which says the following:

    “16. In my judgment, the claimant can be said to have moved into this flat for the purposes of regulation 5(6) when she removed all her furniture from her previous home and moved it into the new flat. In the context which I set out below, I conclude that this is the proper construction of the expression “move into the dwelling”.”

    So from what you say you aren’t going to be able to treat them as occupying the new home if they hadn’t moved any posessions in yet. But if they had, R(H)9/05 also contains a method of construing the temporary absence rule so that you could have paid throughout the period spent in prison (by interpreting “intention to return” in a clever way). The case is about someone taking up accomodation and then going into hospital, additionally complicated by awaiting disability adaptions to the new home, but the parallels with your claim seem clear to me.

    The decision is here if you want to read it:



    Accura, I can’t really add anything to Mark’s post, and agree in total with what he has said, however one part of your post does worry me – you say that social services are acting for him?

    Social Services are totally unable to act for the claimant unless the claimant has signed a power of attorney, or that social services worker has been accepted as an appointee by the DWP, or the claimant has signed confirmation that they have authorised social services to act on his behalf, (and this is completly different from an authority to communicate with you). If the last option, I would also want the social worker to confirm in writing that they are aware of their responsibility to re-pay any overpayments (as technically they become the claimant and are potentially liable to re-pay any overpaid sums. Once that is known, there is no way that the social worker will sign it).

    Sorry to muddy the waters – but it is an issue as to whether you even accept the request as valid…

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