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Disputed Housing Benefit Debt

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A housing benefit question for the collective wisdom of the forum, if I may:

 

My girlfriend split up with her emotionally abusive ex-partner many months ago, but they continued to live together and claim housing benefit jointly for their rented property. On 1st September my girlfriend, unable to tolerate his behaviour any longer, moved in with her mother and stayed there. In the meantime, she began a relationship with myself and we moved in together on 29th October.

 

My girlfriend is now being chased for the £700 in housing benefit that she received between 1st September and 29th October on the grounds that she was no longer physically living there. Surely they can't do this? As far as she was concerned she remained jointly responsible for all bills and costs until formally moving out on 29th October. She paid over all the housing benefit to her ex-partner, who badgered her constantly for the money by banging on the door at all hours.

 

She has explained this, but the council's underling refuses to listen: as far as they are concerned she ceased to physically live there and that is that. Is there anything she can do?

 

Thanks in advance

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I am assuming from content of your post that your partner was the person who made the claim for HB and received the payments.

 

When she moved out on 1 September, she ceased to be entitled to HB and should have notified the Council and terminated her HB.

 

The ex-partner could then have made a claim in his own right.

 

Basically it sounds as if your partner did not tell the Council and received HB she was not entitled so, so the Council expect her to pay it back.


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I am assuming from content of your post that your partner was the person who made the claim for HB and received the payments.

 

When she moved out on 1 September, she ceased to be entitled to HB and should have notified the Council and terminated her HB.

 

The ex-partner could then have made a claim in his own right.

 

Basically it sounds as if your partner did not tell the Council and received HB she was not entitled so, so the Council expect her to pay it back.

 

What's complicated here is that she continued to pay all bills etc right up until 29th October, when she ceased to formally become a tenant. All benefit claimed was given to her partner (in fact, he pestered her for it constantly) and used for the intended purpose. It's not as though she profited on any way, or the public purse had any revenue loss.

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What's complicated here is that she continued to pay all bills etc right up until 29th October, when she ceased to formally become a tenant. All benefit claimed was given to her partner (in fact, he pestered her for it constantly) and used for the intended purpose. It's not as though she profited on any way, or the public purse had any revenue loss.

 

At a most basic level, you need to actually live somewhere in order to claim HB for that place.


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What's complicated here is that she continued to pay all bills etc right up until 29th October, when she ceased to formally become a tenant. All benefit claimed was given to her partner (in fact, he pestered her for it constantly) and used for the intended purpose. It's not as though she profited on any way, or the public purse had any revenue loss.

 

Nobody is suggesting that she profited in any way, but that is not the issue for HB purposes. The issue is whether she was entitled to the payments. A primary condition for entitlement is that a person is occupying the dwelling as their home.

 

Your partner should not have passed the money on to her ex-partner, she should have returned it to the Council.

 

As to whether there was any overall loss to public funds, you are assuming that her ex-partner would have been entitled to same amount of HB (and possibly CTB) as a single person that your partner received as part of a couple.


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What you could try doing is getting the ex-partner to apply for backdated HB for period 01/09/12 to 29/10/12 and then using that money to repay the overpayment.

 

However:

 

  1. his application for backdating may be unsuccessful
  2. if his application is successful, he might not give her the money and could just spend it on something else


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