Author Topic: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.  (Read 2106 times)

AccessOfficer

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Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« on: 06 Aug 2013 11:01AM »
HOUSING BENEFIT SIZE CRITERIA RESTRICTIONS FOR WORKING AGE CLAIMANTS IN THE SOCIAL RENTED SECTOR FROM 1 APRIL 2013

"This circular contains details of the provisions contained in The Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 that were laid before Parliament on 28 June 2012."

"This instrument introduces size criteria into Housing Benefit for those in the social rented sector (SRS), which is accommodation let by a local authority, registered housing association or other registered provider."

"The size criteria will be used to decide the extent to which the claimant under-occupies their home so that an appropriate percentage reduction can be made through Housing Benefit."

"The draft Regulations can be viewed free of charge via the website of the Office of Public Information. The explanatory memorandum that is published with the Regulations can also be viewed on the Office of Public Information website."

"There will be claimants affected by this measure who live in significantly adapted accommodation due to someone in the household having a disability."

"It will not always be practical or cost effective for these people to move to different accommodation or they may have no other option for making up the shortfall in rent."

"An extra £25 million has been added to the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund specifically for these circumstances."

 "When gathering information from landlords on the size of accommodation, you should ask about any adapted accommodation as well as collecting the same information about local authority let accommodation. This will help you prepare for future claims for DHPs."


http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/a4-2012.pdf

Oh happy days; only 48 pages!!

Regards
AO


Becca7

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #1 on: 06 Aug 2013 11:30AM »
I confess I don't have time to read through 48 pages at the moment, but was wondering if this document deals with the councils that will not allow people DHP longer than 3 months and only if they are actively looking to move. This is how my council are operating DHP. DHP is not for long term help; at least not here. Though maybe that is only my council.

JLR2

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #2 on: 06 Aug 2013 08:35PM »
The size criteria?

Are we still talking number of rooms or are we now talking about the square footage/metre of a claimants home?

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #3 on: 06 Aug 2013 10:00PM »
No, it's still all about the number of rooms relative to the occupants (specifically, bedrooms):

Quote
Claimants receiving housing benefit for SRS (social rented sector) housing will have the amount they can receive restricted based on the number of bedrooms their household requires measured against the same size criteria already used in LHA (Local Housing Allowance)

One bedroom for each of the following:
-
a couple
-
a person who is not a child (aged 16 and over)
-
two children of the same sex
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two children who are under 10
-
any other child, (other than a foster child or child whose main
home is elsewhere).
-
a carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care

devine63

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #4 on: 07 Aug 2013 12:26AM »
AO

do the regulations include a definition of "bedroom"?   I have heard that in some areas the people making the assessments are counting the living room (lounge, sitting room) of a dwelling as a bedroom, apparently on the grounds that "it is large enough to hold a bed" and therefore a single person living in a two bedroom flat can appear to have two "spare" rooms, with the associated financial penalty.

regards, Deb

lankou

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #5 on: 07 Aug 2013 07:15AM »
AO

do the regulations include a definition of "bedroom"?   I have heard that in some areas the people making the assessments are counting the living room (lounge, sitting room) of a dwelling as a bedroom, apparently on the grounds that "it is large enough to hold a bed" and therefore a single person living in a two bedroom flat can appear to have two "spare" rooms, with the associated financial penalty.

regards, Deb

If it isn't 70 square feet floor area it isn't a bedroom.

AccessOfficer

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #6 on: 07 Aug 2013 08:12AM »
Deb,
I too have heard that living rooms are being counted as a bedroom by some local authorities.
I have not read the full text of the size criteria restrictions but I will try and read through the document today and get back to you.
Regards
AO

Becca7

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #7 on: 12 Aug 2013 01:07PM »
My council is one of the ones that has decided a lounge can be a bedroom; and size *here* is apparently to do with being able to fit a bed into it. I have seen one of the letters and the decision was based on the property already having a dining room and there being no reason why the lounge could not be used as a bedroom as there was already somewhere in the property to eat and relax.

devine63

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Re: Housing Benefit Size Criteria Restrictions.
« Reply #8 on: 12 Aug 2013 11:12PM »
I can see why they might make that argument if a property had two reception rooms (unless one were dedicated to some other purpose such as a home office or study).   

Becca the stuff AO posted above may give you a way to challenge your Local Authority - a formal complaint arguing they have misinterpreted national guidance re DHPs would be worth a try.
regards, Deb