Help !! Advice needed.

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    Any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated – Tribunal tomorrow and just received more evidence from Welfare Rights!! heres the situation
    Woman, splitting from partner resident together , they have two children and she is pregnant – she states it is an abusive relationship and she seeks to move out – she completes a claim form in December 05 for council property with tenancy start date of 03.01.2006.
    Claim of Dec 05 deemed defective as not all info was provided and LA did not have a date she had moved in………………anon call to fraud office re non residency of property .investigated – fraud officer – visited her at the relevant property initially on 02.03.06 when she readily agreed she had not moved and that she was living at her mothers – visted again a week later and she stated she had moved in……………….no benefit paid. She submits a new claim form on 26.06.06 with request to backdate bens to 11.03.03 this was initially refused and then on appeal the decision was revised and benefit was awarded from 13.03.06 at the same time her council tax laibilty was adjusted and she was made liable only from the date of occupation……………customer writes back again ….thanking LA for backdating claim and then asks for it to be backdated to tenancy start date…..LA consider and speaks to appellant who confirms her application forsocial fund loan was made on 08.03.06 and granted on 16.03.06 and it paid for beds and cooker. LA submit to Tribunal not entitled to benefit prior to moving in as did not safisy criteria of Reg 7 ( 8 )
    her argument now is that looking at CH 2957/2004 she should be treated a occupying her home from 03.01.06 as she had taken on the tenancy moved in bits of furnituire and was decorating it – there is no other home for the LA to consider ( she was staying with relatives – mother?) She now states she gave the date of moving in on 11.03.06 becuase she was advised to do that by LA visiting officer which is the date the beds arrived ??? -social fund loan for those items was received on 16.03.06? thinking of taking LA fraud officer as witness but no mention of fraud or anon call in original sub or evidence – prob will be “told off” for doing so on the day but……….what do you think????


    Take the Fraud Officer to provide ‘additional assistance’ to the Chair (they like it when it said that way)

    Although, it will be difficult to disprove the date that they moved in, I would argue that the earliest possible date was 11 Mar 06 as the claim for a social fund payment was made around this time and therefore it is reasonable to assume that it was then she moved.


    Deleted this post as posted twice-See below


    In light of the late evidence supplied by Welfare Rights (I assume it is the part of miss-advice by the authority with regards to the move in date), I believe the fraud officer would be able cast doubt over the allegation regarding the move in date.

    I agree the fraud aspect does not need to be mentioned however the statement taken by the fraud officer is now relevant in light of the late evidence received by Welfare Rights.

    Either both pieces of evidence should now be included or excluded at the tribunal hearing, it would be unfair for the Chair to accept only claimants evidence.


    I agree you should take the fraud officer along, the evidence may be relevant.

    I get the impression that there is a fair amount of common ground – claimant has admitted that she was sleeping at mum’s and that bed & cooker etc arrived in March?

    First question that springs to mind is the backdating issue – I assume you have accepted good cause?

    If I am right in my assumtion and you have accepted good cause exists for the earlier period then I think it really is only a matter of interpretation.

    There are 3 possibilities:
    a) Home was at her mum’s
    b) Her home was at the subject property.
    c) She did not have a home for benefit purposes.

    The sitiuation in 2957/2004 was slightly different in that claimant had, literally, set up home. Your claimant did not because she could not.

    It may well be worth contacting the claimant’s rep – if you are agreed on the facts regarding Jan-v-March then it really is down to deciding when it was occupoed as a home and the fraud officer [u:09787f5def]may[/u:09787f5def] not be necessary.


    thanks for your help but chairman found in her favour – treated her as occupying despite very persuasive evidence to the contrary – he allowed it in light of quoted comms decision as reason for his decision!!!!

    Kevin D

    How about considering a shot at Cmmrs? (subject to full statement of reasons).

    Sounds as if it is very distinguishable from [b:014d41cf7f]CH/2957/2004[/b:014d41cf7f] and the Tribunal appears to have taken the easy way out.


    While I realise that we are talking about people’s lives here and a couple of months’ rent is a lot of money for her, and it’s Christmas and everything, out of pure academic interest I agree with Kevin that this would make a fascinating Commissioner’s case. I say this because it seems to me to fall directly between two cases.

    One is the case that the Tribunal followed: CH/2957/2004. The other is CH/2521/2002.

    Obviously there are some similarities with 2957/2004: the fact that the claimant had irrevocably severed ties with her former long-term home, the fact that she was clearly intending to live in the new property as her long term home, the fact that the current arrangements were temporary, the fact that the new place was not just left standing empty and she was doing what she could to establish some kind of presence there.

    CH/2521/2002 was a case where the claimant was living with his mother at the time when his new LA tenancy started. He intended to move in gradually after decorating, but still slept at his mother’s and kept his clothes and belongings there; eventually he gave up the tenancy without ever fully moving in. The Commissioner decided he had occupied his mother’s house as his normal home at all times. Again there are similarities with your case, but differences as well. In particular, there were no temporary interim living arrangements in this case: there were two clear candidates for the normal home and it was just a question of when, if at all, the normal home had migrated from one to the other.

    In 2957, the crucial ingredient was the irrevocable moving out of the old home, followed by a limbo period when, had circumstances allowed, the claimant would have lived in the new home and there was only one candidate for the normal home.

    Your case lies somewhere between the two. I think Pete Davies sums up the options neatly: she lived with her mother, she lived in the new place, or she didn’t really live anywhere at all. The Tribunal has decided that she lived in the new place.

    You could be a Scrooge and argue that the Tribunal went wrong in law, either because the facts did not match 2957 or because the Tribunal failed to consider other relevant cases, in particular 2521/2002. You could even suspend payment of the arrears pending your appeal to the Commissioners.

    But do you really want to do that?


    In response to Peters statement, I would certainly not pay the arrears pending an appeal to Commissioners.

    If the Commissioner then changes the decision, what would you do with the overpayment? Any reasonable rep would say that it was L/A Error non – recoverable as the claimant would not have reasonably have known that an overpayment had occured.


    i agree – think chairman has taken the easy way out – he focused on the fact that she had no alternative “dwelling” her only address to all intents and purposes was the one which she had taken on the tenancy of — all hangs on definition of occupation – thanks for all your comments – really helpful!

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