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Housing Benefit, or not

Carryon Regardless

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I'm led to believe that HB has been absorbed into Universal Credit, but seemingly not everywhere.

Denbighshire informed me, by snail mail, this morning that HB for a tenant is being stopped.

This is for the period of 8th October '2018' through to 3rd June '2019'. The benefits orifice now intend to recover the £2,720 from me, of course, as I receive the HB direct.

Talking to the guarantor, as I suggested it be in their interest to raise a query with volume, the tenant applied for Open University way back and HB believe he got some dosh, that apparently he didn't get.

I'm not getting involved with such arguments, but being full of Xmas spirit hinted that there is a responsible person that isn't me.

It has occurred to me that there is an extra complication nowadays with the advent of Universal Credit, in that if we make claim for the housing element they have to use more fingers than they have, even in rural Wales, to calculate it.

Since Guinness is still being discounted at 'Spoons things 'aint all bad. Although I am surprised that the eu haven't turned those taps off.

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My understanding is any tenants who are retired or long term sick/disabled still get HB all else (i think) go onto UC. 

Regarding overpayments it is only recoverable under s.71 Social Security Administration Act 1992 and only recoverable from the person who has misrepresented or failed to disclose any material fact which caused the overpayment (so if no such person, it is not recoverable). [The Child Poverty Action Group v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2010] UKSC 54]. 



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Thanks, again, Grampa.

I have previously had decisions reversed by writing with such statements as I couldn't have been aware of any discrepancy / misrepresented info. Possibly 'they' try on the attempt in full knowledge that it isn't correct according to that case you've linked. Specifically it seems to be stated in 5. of the judgement that Section 71 (3) (1) of the 1992 act does as you say mean they should recover from the tenant.

A couple of possible get outs though. a) we accept the payments on the understanding they can be recovered. b) will Welsh law still apply to this judgement? Their devolution and power to create new laws has made a few legal situations more complicated.

I drafted a letter to them yesterday. They wouldn't get it before Xmas anyway so I intend to return to it and consider further. I'm still unsure as to if i should cite the specifics of the judgement, or keep it simple with the effective statement "I couldn't have known".

Good stuff, it must have taken some finding so very much appreciated.



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I have always had a good relationship with my local council and we now dont get chased for HB overpayments unless it is obvious we shouldn't have it such as a payment that relates to a period after the tenancy has ended because we should have known as the dates the payment relate to are provided.

Now appealing an UC overpayment (£400ish)  is another story. For a start the UC payments when received into our client account the reference does not state the period dates the payment relates to.  So after getting a payment for a tenant which was processed and paid to a landlord we then get an overpayment notice because apparently it was for a period after the tenant vacated. The online appeal portal firstly isnt designed for agents and after advised to appeal in the tenants name as if I was the tenant (this felt so wrong but UC advised this) and quoting the  normal line and rule "it is only recoverable under s.71 Social Security Administration Act 1992 and only recoverable from the person who has misrepresented or failed to disclose any material fact" and because there was no way we could have known which date the payment related to my appeal still failed. Now 4 months later I'm still waiting for details and and account details on how to repay these funds.

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  • 1 month later...

An update.

I sent a letter dated 22nd December to Denbighshire HB. No response from them but rather than the usual £320 per 4 weeks I only got £275. This i can see from their clumsy website, that details payments made.

The letter didn't detail the legislation or refer to the court case, I merely pointed out that I couldn't have known of the discrepancy and requested them to review their decision.

Looking now I see a letter generated, available on the website but not received via post. This dated 7th January apologises for the delay and confirms I am not expected to make the refund of over payment. Apparently an invoice has been sent to my tenant.

So the tenant now has a small arrear on his account with me, in truth I can live with that as I'm used to far worse.

So a little drama that didn't become another crisis after all. Cheers Grampa your info is good ammunition and saved for the future.


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