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Housing Benefit rant / advice needed if possible.


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Hi everyone

 

 

I put in a new claim for housing benefit on the 5th Feb 2012. I am a single person renting a 2 bedroom flat from a private landlord. I've been on JSA looking for work since 5th Feb 2012 (Only the second time I've been out of work since I was 16, I'm 29 now)

 

Basically, I received a letter on 21st March 2012 telling me to send in a copy of my tenancy agreement by 21st April, this was sorted and handed in on the 19th April, due to my landlord being hard to get hold of. But it was still on time.

 

I have had no contact from them ever since, although after waiting 3 weeks, I called them to ask how my claim was going to be told it's still processing and to call back next week.

 

I called back the following week to be told, that actually, my claim hasn't been delt with at all. It's in fact been sat there and not been dealt with, and she was going to put it through.

 

It's now the 6th June 2012, 4 months after I claimed, and 2 months after I handed all my documents in, I have rent arrears of £1600 and will be evicted at the end of this month If I don't pay up, leaving me homeless.

 

Understandably I've been getting very stressed these last few days, and felt I have been treated unfairly. None of it made sense to me so I started to look online for answers.

 

I have recently read about interim payments, aka payment on accounts on another forum,

 

consumeractiongroup(dot)co(dot)uk/forum/showthread.php?192850-interim-payment-from-housing-benefit

 

 

and on

 

england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/debt_and_arrears/rent_arrears/arrears_due_to_housing_benefit

 

 

Which led me to read the Housing benefit guidence manual @

 

dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/housing-benefit/claims-processing/operational-manuals/housing-benefit-guidance/

 

Section A6 talks about interim payment for people in my situatio, and I quote:

 

Decisions

Time limits

6.20 When a Local Authority (LA) decides a claim they must

• decide the claim and notify the claimant of that decision within 14 days of receiving all the

necessary information, or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter

HB Reg 89 & (SPC) 70; CTB Reg 75, 76 & (SPC) 61, 60

• give priority to claims from certain people starting work, see C5, Extended payments later

in this manual

HB Reg 89 & (SPC) 70

• notify third parties about decisions affecting them

• include in each notification specific information about the decision

HB Reg 89; CTB Reg 75

6.21 Authorities

• are not bound by the time limits if there are reasonable grounds for delay

• may stop action on a claim without making a decision if

CTB Reg 75 & (SPC) 60

- the claim is made in an unacceptable form and the claimant fails to resubmit their

application within four weeks of being asked to do so

HB Reg 89

- the claimant does not provide supporting information within four weeks of being asked

to do so

HB Reg 76 & (SPC) 70

- the claim is withdrawn, or

HB Reg 76

- the claim is made more than 13 weeks before the end of the current benefit award

CTB Reg 66

 

 

 

and:

 

 

 

 

First payment of HB

6.157 You must make the first payment of HB within 14 days of receiving the claim unless it is not

reasonably practicable, when payment should be made as soon as possible. If the claim has not

been decided within 14 days of receiving the claim, you must consider a payment on account,

see Payment on account below.

Reg 88

Payment on account

6.158 If you cannot decide a claim within 14 days of receiving the claim, you must consider making

a payment on account. It is not the claimant’s responsibility to ask for a payment on account

and you must not wait for them to ask.

6.159 A payment on account

• must be made if the claim cannot be decided and this is not because the claimant has failed

to provide, without good cause, evidence reasonably needed and requested

• must not be made if

- you do not consider that a payment on account is appropriate because the claim will

probably be decided and paid within the 14 days. If the claim is not decided within 14

days you must reconsider your decision immediately, or

- it is clear from the information already available there will be no entitlement to benefit,

or

- you cannot decided the claim within 14 days because the claimant has failed, without

good cause, to provide evidence or information which you reasonably need and have

requested

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok so I called the Sheffield Benefit s Service today and spoke to the advisor.

 

I asked how my claim was going and she said it's still processing. I explained my circumstances and asked for an interim payment (even though I shouldn't have to ask)

 

She said they don't do it anymore and I will just have to wait.

 

I told her I have the printout of the Housing benefit guidance manual in front of me and quoted the relevant sections, she said it doesn't make a difference any more because they don't do interim payments, and haven't done for 3 years.

 

 

So I then asked to speak to her manager, and she said the manager was not available. So I asked when and she wouldn't say.

 

I then asked for her name as I would be coming down to make an appointment with her manager, and she hung up the phone on me.

 

 

I have been very reasonable and kept calm and polite throughout.

 

 

 

I just want this sorting ASAP, I am literally losing sleep over this.

 

 

Can anyone offer any advice on whether they are breaking the law?

 

And is anyone else in a similar situation?

 

 

 

Sorry for the long post, thanks for reading.

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Housing benefit usually state that claims will be dealt with within 10 weeks...

 

My last claim took 13 weeks, but was dealt with and all arrears paid...

 

Go to howden house, ask to speak to someone on Housing benefit, explain the situation and that you will be facing eviction (which also won't happen, as there is a legal clause to protect you should you be on HB and awaiting a claim to be processed)

 

The best advise when dealing with them is to remain calm and don't shout or get angry!

 

They will contact your landlord on your behalf, explain the situation, and resolve it as quickly as they can.. they can also deal with your landlord directly if given your permission.. (likewise, if you give your landlord written and signed permission they can then deal with HB on your behalf)

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You are now more qualified than their staff but you don't have a certificate to prove so.

 

Read up on squatting law, it may come in handy!

 

http://libcom.org/organise/squatting-guide

 

Hopefully you will never need to use the above guide, but just in case you do, read it to be on the safe side.

 

Hopefully your claim is sorted sharpish, and that you can find well paying work in due course in order to live a decent life.

 

It would appear to me you if evicted due to non payment of housing benefit, you are being made homeless through no fault of your own. And SCC would have a duty of care to house you, as your eviction is no fault of your own, but one of theirs!

On that basis, I reckon you could even be entitled to some priority banding for council /ha housing.

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Go to howden house, ask to speak to someone on Housing benefit, explain the situation and that you will be facing eviction (which also won't happen, as there is a legal clause to protect you should you be on HB and awaiting a claim to be processed)

 

The best advise when dealing with them is to remain calm and don't shout or get angry!

 

This is good advice...

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Housing benefit usually state that claims will be dealt with within 10 weeks...

 

My last claim took 13 weeks, but was dealt with and all arrears paid...

 

Go to howden house, ask to speak to someone on Housing benefit, explain the situation and that you will be facing eviction (which also won't happen, as there is a legal clause to protect you should you be on HB and awaiting a claim to be processed)

 

The best advise when dealing with them is to remain calm and don't shout or get angry!

 

They will contact your landlord on your behalf, explain the situation, and resolve it as quickly as they can.. they can also deal with your landlord directly if given your permission.. (likewise, if you give your landlord written and signed permission they can then deal with HB on your behalf)

 

Thank you for your reply, very helpful.

 

I am definitely going down there as I am getting nowhere on the phone with them. Hopefully I will get this sorted soon. I don't think I have been as stressed in my life as I am at the moment. Not to mention the difficulties finding a job!

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You are now more qualified than their staff but you don't have a certificate to prove so.

 

Read up on squatting law, it may come in handy!

 

http://libcom.org/organise/squatting-guide

 

Hopefully you will never need to use the above guide, but just in case you do, read it to be on the safe side.

 

Hopefully your claim is sorted sharpish, and that you can find well paying work in due course in order to live a decent life.

 

It would appear to me you if evicted due to non payment of housing benefit, you are being made homeless through no fault of your own. And SCC would have a duty of care to house you, as your eviction is no fault of your own, but one of theirs!

On that basis, I reckon you could even be entitled to some priority banding for council /ha housing.

 

Thank you very much, hopefully I won't end up in the situation of being a squatter as well as jobless!

 

I have been on the housing waiting list for 10 years, and had to go private in the end as I had no offers accepted through my applications to the Sheffield Property shop.

 

It seems if you are younger than 40 and single you don't have as many rights to accommodation as other people...:(

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Thank you for your reply, very helpful.

 

I am definitely going down there as I am getting nowhere on the phone with them. Hopefully I will get this sorted soon. I don't think I have been as stressed in my life as I am at the moment. Not to mention the difficulties finding a job!

 

Your landlord can't evict you (legally) without taking you to court and if you are taken to court just tell them that it's a delay in your HB that is the council's responsibility. See http://www.advicesheffield.org.uk/ for any further help.

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Your landlord can't evict you (legally) without taking you to court and if you are taken to court just tell them that it's a delay in your HB that is the council's responsibility. See http://www.advicesheffield.org.uk/ for any further help.

 

Thanks, good info.

 

Hopefully this thread will be of some help to others as well by using the site seach, or google search.

 

I don't wan't others to deal with this situation blindly and end up as stressed as I have been.

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Rather than stress about all this and spend hours researching stuff online you should just put your energies into finding a job.

Youll be much happier not having to reply on idiots to pay your rent for you.

 

There's always one.

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