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Thread: Universal Credit/Housing Benefit- Please Help!

  1. #1

    Universal Credit/Housing Benefit- Please Help!

    We are moving house from private to council. We already claim housing benefit for our current property, under the same council. They told me today that we need to apply for Universal Credit when we move into the new property to claim housing benefit. They were adamant that this is what needs to happen. However I have read on the entitedto site that as long as youíre moving within the same local authority, it should not trigger a change to UC. Iím worried because they were so insistent at the council that I would have to do it that way, rather than just change my address. I donít know why I need to make a new HB claim when itís the same council and the same area? I really donít want to change to UC. I canít find anything on the Gov website about it, only on EntitledTo. Is there any reason my council could enforce this? Please advise xx

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    You (and entitledto) are right - the council are wrong.

    It's only if you have to make a brand new claim that it would have to be UC.

    Yours is not a brand new claim, it's an alteration to an existing HB claim.

    The problem is that the council employees are not told that and assume that anyone moving to a new house will be making (has to make) a brand new claim.
    (Which to be fair will be correct 98 or 99 percent of the time).

    It's a training thing again.
    They are told that no one can make a new claim for HB and should be pointed to UC instead.
    They don't get told that it's still quite possible to change an existing HB claim to a different address, just as they would have done before UC came along.

    (And of course the government are encouraging/pushing them to do this).

    You need to be insistent that it is a change to your current HB claim and not a new claim.

    I'll see if I can find the actual guidance or legislation about this that may help.
    (There probably isn't any legislation that says it, you don't make new legislation for a situation that already exists).
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-11-18 at 01:08.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    As I suspected I can't find anything new specific about this situation.

    That's because the old change of circumstances (change of property address) laws still apply to the HB claim.

    There is nothing in the UC regulations that overrides them.

    There are a few reports out there of various Local Authorities trying this on, probably because they are being pushed to by the DWP/Government.
    Here's just one.
    https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12832/
    As the poster of that one says, there is no legal basis for this, but they are trying to pretend that there is and keep saying it anyway.
    (And probably getting away with it because claimants just don't know what is legal or not with UC, and assume that what they are being told is right).

    I can find other posts going back to 2016 where they were reported as trying this on when people moved house within the same borough.

    So, what to do now?

    As I read the Housing Benefit legislation -

    You need to remind/inform the council, it should be in writing, that-

    1. A housing benefit claim is in the name of a person (the claimant) and is not tied to a particular dwelling.
      The payment amount is made to the claimant "in respect of a dwelling"; in accordance with Part 3 of "The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006", (as revised 31/8/2018).
    2. You are changing your home, and thus the "dwelling" which you want your claim to be "in respect of".
    3. As required by law you are notifiying them of a change of circumstances to your existing claim, in accordance with Regulation 88 of "The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006", (as revised 31/8/2018).
    4. This is not a new claim, it is notification of a change of circumstances (change of dwelling) to your existing claim.

    If they try to tell you that those regulations no longer apply then challenge them to provide the legislation that repeals or overrides them.
    (They won't be able to).

    You can download and read those Housing Benefit Regulations here:
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/..._310818_en.pdf


    There are other considerations of when one property stops being, and the other starts being, "the relevant dwelling" but I believe that it's more important to you that you avoid making a claim for UC, so just concentrate on that.

    Disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer but am pretty good at reading/deciphering all this stuff.
    If you want to double check my advice, with a lawyer or a professional advisor, then please go ahead.

    PS.
    You don't mention which, if any, other benefits you are getting?
    Remember that HB will be migrated to UC anyway, sometime in the coming six years.
    Have you checked what you would be entitled to with UC, despite all the scaremongering out there it may be more than you are getting currently.
    As your are familiar with entitledto I suggest you might try their benefit calculator: https://www.entitledto.co.uk/?utm_so...campaign=GovUK
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-11-18 at 03:39.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    As I suspected I can't find anything new specific about this situation.

    That's because the old change of circumstances (change of property address) laws still apply to the HB claim.

    There is nothing in the UC regulations that overrides them.

    There are a few reports out there of various Local Authorities trying this on, probably because they are being pushed to by the DWP/Government.
    Here's just one.
    https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12832/
    As the poster of that one says, there is no legal basis for this, but they are trying to pretend that there is and keep saying it anyway.
    (And probably getting away with it because claimants just don't know what is legal or not with UC, and assume that what they are being told is right).

    I can find other posts going back to 2016 where they were reported as trying this on when people moved house within the same borough.

    So, what to do now?

    As I read the Housing Benefit legislation -

    You need to remind/inform the council, it should be in writing, that-

    1. A housing benefit claim is in the name of a person (the claimant) and is not tied to a particular dwelling.
      The payment amount is made to the claimant "in respect of a dwelling"; in accordance with Part 3 of "The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006", (as revised 31/8/2018).
    2. You are changing your home, and thus the "dwelling" which you want your claim to be "in respect of".
    3. As required by law you are notifiying them of a change of circumstances to your existing claim, in accordance with Regulation 88 of "The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006", (as revised 31/8/2018).
    4. This is not a new claim, it is notification of a change of circumstances (change of dwelling) to your existing claim.

    If they try to tell you that those regulations no longer apply then challenge them to provide the legislation that repeals or overrides them.
    (They won't be able to).

    You can download and read those Housing Benefit Regulations here:
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/..._310818_en.pdf


    There are other considerations of when one property stops being, and the other starts being, "the relevant dwelling" but I believe that it's more important to you that you avoid making a claim for UC, so just concentrate on that.

    Disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer but am pretty good at reading/deciphering all this stuff.
    If you want to double check my advice, with a lawyer or a professional advisor, then please go ahead.

    PS.
    You don't mention which, if any, other benefits you are getting?
    Remember that HB will be migrated to UC anyway, sometime in the coming six years.
    Have you checked what you would be entitled to with UC, despite all the scaremongering out there it may be more than you are getting currently.
    As your are familiar with entitledto I suggest you might try their benefit calculator: https://www.entitledto.co.uk/?utm_so...campaign=GovUK
    I just found this, see point 9. Is this what I need to show them? https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ho-should-read
    K

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claire8819 View Post
    I just found this, see point 9. Is this what I need to show them? https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ho-should-read
    K
    That's a fantastic find to stick under their noses. rtfm.gif

    I've never before seen anything from the government that states it so clearly.

    It says it all in one easy to understand paragraph, and is bang up to date.

    Yes, I would definitely use that to quote/show them instead of the legal stuff.
    (But keep the legal regulations in hand as well just in case, they explain why that paragraph is the case).


    The memo also explains some other issues regarding migration to UC that make it easy for council staff (and others) to understand, definitely a great find - thanks.
    I'm going to add it into my UC migration thread as advice to anyone else finding themselves in the same situation.
    Last edited by nukecad; 14-11-18 at 16:38.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    That's a fantastic find to stick under their noses. rtfm.gif

    I've never before seen anything from the government that states it so clearly.

    It says it all in one easy to understand paragraph, and is bang up to date.

    Yes, I would definitely use that to quote/show them instead of the legal stuff.
    (But keep the legal regulations in hand as well just in case, they explain why that paragraph is the case).


    The memo also explains some other issues regarding migration to UC that make it easy for council staff (and others) to understand, definitely a great find - thanks.
    I'm going to add it into my UC migration thread as advice to anyone else finding themselves in the same situation.
    Thank you. Can you please tell me the exact bit in the housing benefit regulations 2006 that says change of address within the same LA must be treated as a change of circumstances in a existing claim, rather than trigger a new claim?

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claire8819 View Post
    Thank you. Can you please tell me the exact bit in the housing benefit regulations 2006 that says change of address within the same LA must be treated as a change of circumstances in a existing claim, rather than trigger a new claim?
    That's the thing with legislation (regulations).

    It's written by (ex?) lawyers/solicitors/baristers/judges/etc. and so what it doesn't say is just as important as what it does say.

    But of course you can't quote something that is not there in the first place.

    So, like I did above, you have to argue that 'that says that', which means 'that applies (in conjunction with that)', and so what I'm saying is better than what you are saying.

    That's how lawyers/solicitors/barristers make a lot of money, arguing about what the bit it doesn't say actually means.
    Case law (previous judges saying what it means) helps, - but another (higher?) judge can come along and say 'he was wrong, it means something different'.

    Stay with refering to, and showing them, that A7/2018 memo.
    That is the best thing since sliced bread in this situation, and will quickly be picked up, spread around, and used by welfare organisations.
    (Advisors are only people they can't see or search for everything new, you have done everyone a favour by finding that memo).

    There is no way that a council employee could reasonably argue against an official memo from the DWP/government.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  8. #8
    Thanks, gosh itís so difficult when itís now actually written down for you to quote! I just hope they donít come up with some loophole excuse or reason why I have to start UC. Just wondered, does applying to claim a overlap payment (to pay a monthís notice to my current landlord and pay the new house as well) trigger UC?

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    No it shouldn't trigger UC.

    It should just be done the same as it was before UC even existed.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  10. #10
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    since they brought in this local council tax reduction schemes , ware councils can make there own rules on council tax , they think they can rule over every benefit ?

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