Should this case be assessed as Local housing Allowance

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    Jill Doughty

    I’d be grateful for advice on the following – I have had conflicting advice on how this should be treated and would appreciate your opinions:

    I am looking into a claim from a lady who had been in receipt of benefit for many years (pre 96 case). She was being paid using old reg 11 as she was considered vulnerable due to family and that there was not any cheaper accommodation available to her.

    She advised us in November 2009 that her son had moved out and there had been an increase in her wages going back to August 2009. Her claim was subsequently reassessed and she was made not entitled for the period 3 August 2009 – 6 September 2009. Her income was lower in September so at the same time as the assessment to make her n/e, the claim was processed to continue in payment from 6 September 2009. Now this is where my query comes in………

    Due to this break in entitlement should she now be treated as a Local Housing Allowance case? There has been a break in entitlement in my customers claim, but not a break in the claim as in she has not had to reclaim. The customer did not reapply for benefit as the changes were all done as part of the same assessment.

    On reading the LHA guidance it says:

    1.55 Claimants will go onto LHA on the earlier of the receipt of

    • a new claim

    • relevant information regarding a new claim, ie a Customer Management System (CMS)

    statement – only applicable in local authorities where CMS has gone live

    • a notification of an existing claimant changing address

    • re-applications where there is a break in the claim of one week or more

    My customer has not had to reapply due to a break in claim, there has just been a break in her entitlement. Is it stretching it a bit to say that there is no break in claim here and that the customer should therefore still be treated as a pre 96 case and not fall under LHA rules?

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this and how you would interpret the guidance

    Many thanks

    Kevin D

    I haven’t checked the legislation itself but this may assist.

    If the legislation (distinguished from guidance) “triggers” use the word “entitlement”, there is a break. If the legislation uses the word “award”, there is no break**.

    ** This assumes closed period supersessions are lawful and your post indicates this is the view taken by your LA. If “CPSs” are not lawful for HB (which remains my view), there is unquestionably a break and a new claim is required.


    This issue has been kicked around for some time. :((

    Closed Period Supercession and LHA

    Jill Doughty

    Many thanks for coming back to me

    Rob – you’re a star – just what I needed

    J x

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