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Housing Benefit / Discretionary Housing Payment advice please

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I currently get my rent paid under the old housing benefit system and cannot believe the situation I have now found myself in.

 

Since being on Income Support my full rent has been covered. When I was awarded DLA, I was told that my HB would be unaffected and it was, I still received 100% of my rent paid.

 

Our landlord increased our rent by £10 a week in July, it was the first rent increase in 6 years of living here. He gave us an updated tenancy agreement which I took to my local council and submitted. About 2 weeks later I received a letter telling me that the rent increase was not going to be paid.

 

I rang HB to find out why, as the letter confused me completely and wasn't clear. I was told that when the rent officer sets a fair rent, they can only consider certain reasons for changing the rent within a 12 month period and a rent increase wasn't one of them. So they told me to apply for a discretionary housing payment to cover the shortfall until they could consider the increase through normal HB channels, which is 30 September 2010.

 

The form came and basically told me I had to completely list all my income including HB and CTB and then all my outgoings. It said all outgoings could be listed, so I filled it out, included all the verification and sent it back.

 

I have now received a letter today saying my application has been refused. Basically they have gone through all my outgoings and decided what they will allow and discounted the rest. Basically they have decided that I have £61.70 surplus income every week!

 

I receive DLA of £68.80 a week (high rate mobility & low rate care) and this has been taken into account for calculations, hence this surplus of income.

 

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate that for one I am extrememly lucky that we live in a state with a welfare system that pays my rent. For another I am extremely fortunate that I get DLA in the first place, which financially does help steady the ship a little, so in that respect I expect I should just accept it and pay the rent increase myself for the 3 months concerned. However I do not feel that this is entirely fair.

 

Housing benefit openly said to me that if I were on LHA they would pay up to £110 a week no questions asked, no problem. My new rent is £95 a week.

 

They also openly admitted that if I had just moved into the property it wouldn't be a problem and £95 a week is more than a fair rent for the property.

 

Also DLA is paid to help with my mobility and care, yet they expect me to pay a rent increase out of it. DLA is disregarded for the housing benefit calculation but taken into account for the discretionary housing payment, how can that be right, or fair when just about every other benefit disregards it, including Income Support?

 

According to the Direct Gov site and every other thing I have read, people on Income Support are entitled to all their rent paid but apparently not. The other thing that really p's me off big time is their are 3 flats in this building, number 1 gets its rent of £95 a week paid in full as the couple are OAP's and both on DLA, number 2 is a single mother, recently moved in and she her rent fully paid of £105 a week. Yet mine at £95 and they will only pay the £85 until the end of September, all three flats are the same.

 

I feel quite angry over this, as I don't think it is entirely fair, yet according to the letter I have received I can ask them to look at it again but I have no statutory right of appeal. Which to me says bog off!

 

If anyone has any experience of this ridiculous system and can offer any advice, I would appreciate their input on where if anywhere I can go with this.

 

As stated I appreciate I may be more fortunate than some people but I still feel that this is unfair!


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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With all kinds of discretionary payments there is no right of appeal and little set in stone about what can and can't be considered. There are however usually guides - I have one for DHP's and will attach to this post.

 

From the guide you will see there is, as they advised no right to appeal. However they can review it if you raise a dispute and if you still get no joy after that there is always the option of judical review (or the ombudsman if there is maldaministration).

 

It does specifically say this about disability related benefits:

 

You decide how you treat any income or other resources for the purposes of deciding whether to award a DHP.

 

For example, you may, or may not, decide to disregard income from disability related benefits as they are intended to be used to help pay for the extra costs of disability. However, you may want to bear in mind that such money might be committed to other liabilities for which the money was intended, such as Motability schemes, provision of care etc.

I'd argue the exact point that the guide makes. To take into account your DLA as "disposable income" completely defeats the purpose of receiving it; it's for paying for the extra expenses your disability incurs. Point out that it is disregarded as income for the purpose of all other means tested benefits for that very reason.

DHP guide.pdf


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Thanks very much Erica, sound advice as always.

 

I am in the process of writing to HB to dispute their decision and will post how I get on, which will no doubt still be a brick wall! I have just had a very lengthy conversation with my landlord, who naturally is keen to be getting his rent increase. He has agreed to let it run until I get a definative decision but pointed out that in effect I owed him around £100. He did say that he has personally never come accross a situation like this one, he has been renting out property for donkeys years and most of his tenants are on HB or LHA.


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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Sadly the LHA calculation which was introdcued in 2008 has caused a lot of problems.

 

I wish you all the very best, I personally think it's ridiculous that they can be allowed to treat DLA as disposable income.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hi there sorry to bump an old thread but I'm trying to figure out how savings affect DHPs? As I'm about to find my self in a similar position to Simon very soon except my rents going up by £40 a week!

 

I've got a thread open on the residential board here http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?349678-Rent-Increase-of-%A340-(24-)-a-week-on-Periodic-Tenancy-a-little-help-please.(1-Viewing)-nbsp

 

The only reference I can find is to a £3000 savings limit figure here http://www.rochford.gov.uk/benefits/housing_benefit/discretionary_housing_payments.aspx

 

Is that correct?

 

Also if anybody wants to say yay or nay to my view of LHA and rent rise only being being looked at on your yearly anniversary date feel free :D

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