Length of DHP awards

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  • #19562
    Anonymous
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    Can colleagues give an indictaion of any general time limits that they apply to awards of DHP. For example we in Wokingham limit award lengths to 13 weeks. We then have a further refinement to our Policy once a customer has 4 successive awards (totalling 52 weeks). After that time any subsequent awards are automatically directed to the Benefits Manager for determination.

    We make it plain to customers that they can re-apply after this time. We have set the time limit in our Policy for two specific reasons:
    1) It gives us the chance to constantly monitor expenditure levels against the total cash limits;
    2) It gives us the opportunity to review what actions the customer has or is taking to address the longer term financial position that they find themsleves in so that they do not remain dependent on DHP’s as a top up to their benefit in order to meet their rent.

    Any comments around the above issues would be welcome.

    #176
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We do a maximum award of 26 weeks, but this can be shorter if the circumstances of the case should be seen to warrant it, generally for the same reasons as yourselves.

    #177
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As the vast majority of our DHP’s are rent restriction related, we tend to award till when the tenancy ends and expect the claimant to have found cheaper accomodation by then.

    #178
    Anonymous
    Guest

    It would depend on the individual case. Some might only require it for a short period of time whereas some need longer. As long as I have the budget available at the time of course.

    In alot of cases an award of 26 wks may be made giving them time to sort themselves out, though we have no written procedure stating this.

    #179
    sorath
    Participant

    Of course there is no restriction contained in the legislation. We find that many awards are made for 26 weeks after which the customer is able to reapply. There is however no set limit and it is left to the Assessing Officer to decide on the appropriate period for an award.

    #180
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi there,
    I tend to look at what the need is and then determine a period based upon what the future might hold. For example, in many cases I award to the end of tenancy expecting the tenant to find cheaper accomodation. However, I sometime award until the end of the financial yer (for CTB cases) or even for six months if I now there will be a change in the future that solves the shortfall.

    The real problem we have is avoiding people becomming dependant upon DHP. Sometimes we end up with MP letters and on for one claimant I was contacted by the minister’s office to discuss why we had only awarded help for 6 months. At the end of the day its what you think is fair that matters and being able to explain your decision. Personally, I am still trying to spend all the money I get.

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