8:48 AM, 11th May 2017, About 5 years ago 4
Recently, we were approached by a landlord after he had not received rent for 3 months. Why? His tenant had switched from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit.
The claimant was a disabled man on High Rate DLA. His wife was his full-time carer and they had two children.
The family moved to the UK from Portugal 6 years ago. Since their arrival the wife had been working on and off, her longest appointment was for 1 year.
When the wife started her recent appointment the family contacted Housing Benefit and provided the payslips and contract of employment. They also contacted DWP to notify them of the change in circumstances.
As a change in circumstances was a trigger for the claimant to go onto Universal Credit, the claimant’s Housing Benefit was immediately cancelled.
The claimant applied for Universal Credit, however the claim was declined as he failed the “habitual residency test” (HRT) as he had not achieved “worker’s status”. He could not inherit the wife’s worker’s status as she had also failed the HRT.
The tenants owed more than 8 weeks rent arrears. The landlord did not want to evict the tenants but just wanted his rent.
We took on the case and immediately contacted Housing Benefit to find out why the claim was cancelled as we felt that the change in circumstance should not have resulted in the claim being cancelled and the tenant being told to apply for UC.
Whilst the Housing Benefit request for reconsideration was being looked at, we contacted Universal Credit to find out why the claimants failed the Habitual Residency Test. We also highlighted the fact that the wife was primary carer for two children both in full time education.
We also contacted Universal Credit who confirmed that the tenants failed the HRT as the wife had no workers status as she has not worked in the UK since entering. This information was incorrect as the tenant had payslips to confirm she had worked in the UK for over a year. After going back and forth with the Universal Credit and providing the supporting evidence we have finally managed to get the claim into payment and the APA agreed.
The result: arrears of housing costs were paid significantly reducing the arrears, with monthly deductions instigated which would wipe out the debt.