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Thread: Housing Benefit Cancelled

  1. #1

    Housing Benefit Cancelled

    I was previously on ESA and Housing Benefit.

    I went abroad and informed the DWP before going and also informed the local council. I didn't know when I would return. My ESA was suspended and my housing benefit cancelled.

    I returned from abroad.

    While I was away I received 3 letters from the council (Obviously, I didn't read these until I returned) asking me 'to provide information 'to process my claim' but in the correspondence there was no such letter asking for information - only letters saying, 'provide information to process my claim'? Anyway, I then wrote to the council and explained that I was away and couldn't respond to any letters whereupon they asked me to provide evidence of my time away, which I then did. However, I then received a letter saying they will not reinstate my HB.

    They also said that universal credit has been rolled out in my borough and that I could make a claim there. However, I have no experience of this and don't understand what it is. Is Universal Credit for housing benefit?

    My main problem is that I need to pay my rent to avoid eviction. Are the local council within the law to cancel my housing benefit in this way?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    All councils are different but usually you aren't allowed to be away from your property for more than 3wks unless hospital or prison. Universal Credit is taking over most benefits in areas it is being rolled out in if you have no income you can tell them and some councils will put a hold on your rent until your benefit as been looked at. You need to contact the benfits to see if you can get your esa reinstated or if you have to apply for UC instead. Since you don't know about it maybe you should go to the citizens advice bureau and they can sort it all out for you. This site explains what UC is https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit hope you get it sorted or someone can give you more info

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    How long had you been abroad on this occasion?
    And did you inform the council that you were going?

    (I remember you previously went abroad for 6-8 weeks back in 2015/2016 and had a similar issue with HB on your return).

    It sounds like on this occasion you have been away for more than 4 weeks again
    So your ESA payments would have been suspended, and the DWP computer would have told the council computer system that (the systems are linked).
    If your ESA payments stop for any reason (even if they are just suspended) then they send a 'stop' notice to the council for HB and CTR.

    It then looks as if the council tried to contact you for further details - possibly to change your HB to No/Low income grounds.
    But of course being away you didn't reply.

    If you've been abroad for more than 4 weeks then they are correct to stop your HB.
    The question is whether it should have been stopped or just suspended.
    As you didn't reply to their letters, which I assume were well spread out, then it would be closed altogether.

    That being the case you will have to make a new claim for housing costs, and that claim will have to be Universal Credit.

    The law has changed since last time you went abroad. UC has replaced HB and nobody can make a new claim for HB except in special circumstances.
    (One of those circumstances is if you have the Severe Disability Premium, but you have previously said you don't have that).

    Once you make that UC claim then any other Income Related benefit that you have (including ESA) will also be Naturally Migrated to UC as well.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  4. #4
    i have to say this does seem self inflicted this is another way they have of moving people to UC other than the 10,000 they are moving to UC in a pilot scheme.
    Last edited by druid; 01-29-2019 at 07:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by druid View Post
    this is another way they have of moving people to UC
    Not really,
    I don't think you can blame the DWP (or the council) for this, they aren't forcing people to go abroad for more than 4 weeks.

    And indeed the ESA payments restarted as they should once woeisme returned to the UK, there was no attempt to migrate ESA to UC just because of the trip.

    It's the HB that is the problem here.

    I think that woeisme was relying on what had happened to HB with the previous trip abroad in 2015/2016, without double checking the current position.

    On that previous occasion the HB was also stopped, and a new HB claim had to be made (Which I believe was able to be linked to the closed HB claim).

    But the law has changed since then and new HB claims can no longer be made, (except in special circumstances), so it has to be a new claim for UC if you want help with housing costs.
    Last edited by nukecad; 01-30-2019 at 05:47 AM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  6. #6
    i would have thought people on benefits would have to make sure somebody checks there mail for them if there not at the address the DSS has for them.
    there is some good news on this front though , IF somebody is on UC and the DSS want to contact you they will TEX and EMAIL you so you would know they want to speak to you even if you wer abroad.

  7. #7
    can I just point out that I am able to log in and check my HB and CT online

    I can see if they have sent any correspondence, and read it

    This was how I discovered a change to my benefits, when I was away from home

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by walker View Post
    can I just point out that I am able to log in and check my HB and CT online

    I can see if they have sent any correspondence, and read it

    This was how I discovered a change to my benefits, when I was away from home
    yes this will change i expect when the councils no longer deal with paying rents , i think local goverment is undergoing big changes also? i can see a lot of local councils joining up and creating big councils and closing local offices , the public sector are taking a leaf from the high streets and seeing the internet as the future and closing down bricks and mortar . it is getting harder to meet f2f these days , my town had 6 banks 2 years ago now we have 1.

  9. #9
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    I went abroad and informed the DWP before going and also informed the local council. I didn't know when I would return. My ESA was suspended and my housing benefit cancelled.


    You left the country. So with no return date, ESA is stopped. You are not in the property (I presume rented?) HB linked to ESA. And unfortunately, officials will look and see: person went and lived abroad for xxxxx weeks. They must have savings.....

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by reddivine View Post
    I went abroad and informed the DWP before going and also informed the local council. I didn't know when I would return. My ESA was suspended and my housing benefit cancelled.


    You left the country. So with no return date, ESA is stopped. You are not in the property (I presume rented?) HB linked to ESA. And unfortunately, officials will look and see: person went and lived abroad for xxxxx weeks. They must have savings.....
    yes there is a time limit to how long you can stay outside of UK .
    i knew an old guy from poland and he was hardly ever here he had a council flat for 20 years and i doubt he slept there more than twice , his daughter checked his mail and if he had to fly back here for a medical or to do with benefits he would be on the next plane back to poland after it was sorted , he could live like a king there with the money he was getting from DSS here he said.
    and now it will be easier for people to claim here and live abroad under UC because they will be able to sort everything online with no mail needing reading back in the UK ..

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