Claiming LHA but not Jobseekers allowance

by Readers Question

12:21 PM, 23rd December 2014
About 4 years ago

Claiming LHA but not Jobseekers allowance

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Claiming LHA but not Jobseekers allowance

A tenant of mine has tried to claim LHA, but not Jobseekers Allowance. He was sanctioned by DWP and did not make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance for a period of 7 weeks.

In turn, the Council have refused to pay him any LHA for this same period. They are of the opinion that if he was not getting any unemployment benefit, then he should not get any LHA benefit too.
He has appealed this and made a statement to say that he was not working or had any income for this 7 week period, therefore he is of the opinion that he should still get LHA benefit.

The council will not budge. Are they correct? Do you have to be receiving a benefit, in order to get LHA?

It seems to be the case in Scotland that if a tenant stops receiving any unemployment benefit, the council immediately cancel the LHA too.

RobertJob



Comments

paul landlord

13:22 PM, 23rd December 2014
About 4 years ago

Been through this too many times and the council are a pain in the proverbial but there is good news. I have always got the LHA payments backdated although it can take a little time.

Your tenant having been sanctioned by the dwp automatically gets the hb stopped.

Your tenant will have to make a declaration that they were not receiving any other income and explain how they were living without any income.

Your tenant will need to show bank statements for the period to show there was no income from any not known sources.

my tenants explain how they were living without the sanctioned benefit and this always takes the form of letters from family members stating they were giving them financial aid through the affected period along with living off other benefits such as child benefit etc. This will be on the bank statements but the council can also ask for other current benefit award letters to be produced too just to be awkward as they can see it on the bank statements and have the authority to check it themselves too.

My way is to scoop up the tenant along with the documentation described- or at least the bank statements and letters from supporting family members, brief them on what to say and then be there at the hb office to steer it in the right direction.

It is always a pain and sometimes taken more than one visit but I deal with hb a lot and have been for 20 years and have never been unsuccessful.

One more thing to add effect I give my tenant a section 8 with 28 days notice if appropriate along with a helpful covering letter explaining that you don't want to evict them but you cannot afford to take the hit for something that is their fault but if they can make the debt good then you will not follow it up. Always ensure that all of this is done promptly otherwise it gives the hb another get out in not responding in a timely fashion

Good luck!

Mick Roberts

15:12 PM, 23rd December 2014
About 4 years ago

Brilliant, I han't got time to do a full reply, but your first reply sums it all up.
I have standard Nil Income letters tenants sign. Some good councils have a nil income statement form.

They don't like paying LHA for long on Nil Income, but hopefully get the person back onto a benefit soon.

Robert Mellors

22:34 PM, 23rd December 2014
About 4 years ago

I would re-iterate the comments of Paul and Mick, the Council should accept that the person had nil income if they can provide evidence of how they have been living during the period when they have not been getting JSA. This could be from the generosity of friends and family, or it could be from food banks, or from days centres/soup kitchens (charity), or from existing food supplies (though 7 weeks worth is unlikley), or even scavaging food from supermarket bins, so long as they can give a possibly believable explanation, then the HB Dept should accept this and backdate the Housing Benefit (LHA) award.

In the meantime, if the person is still sanctioned, get them to apply for "hardship payments". This is about two thirds of the normal JSA, BUT it makes it much easier to explain how the person has been feeding themselves etc.


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