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Thread: Grounds for appeal to reinstate housing benefit after short gap?

  1. #1

    Grounds for appeal to reinstate housing benefit after short gap?

    Hello all,
    Our housing benefit and council tax reduction were stopped due to the end of our child care costs which mean't we did not qualify for housing benefit/CTR anymore.
    However, 2 months later child care costs resumed and housing benefit/CTR are refusing to reinstate it, saying we must now claim UC. However, we do not wish to do that and our Tax credits would end if we switched to UC. I am wondering if there are any grounds to appeal the HB/CTR? My MP advised me to submit an appeal to keep it alive. But I do not know which grounds I could argue?

    Kind Regards to you all

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    That's a tricky one. (As usual more tricky because of Covid).

    I assume you mean that you were paying for Childcare and so an amount of your earnings / Tax Credits was being diregarded for HB & CTR purposes?
    And that you then stopped paying for childcare so the disegard no longer applied?
    If I'm right then was that due to Covid, or for other reasons?
    Were you childcare costs still being paid as Tax Credits?

    The situation with childcare costs and Covid is unclear and fraught with complications, not helped by the fact that things keep changing.
    (I'll have to see if I can find anything specific to this situation, you can't be the only ones).

    For now though:

    You need to seperate the HB and CTR in your mind, they are two seperate issues.

    The Council Tax Reduction is nothing to do with UC and if you are paying childcare costs again the disregard applies again, so CTR can be reclaimed now by making a new claim for CTR with the council.

    Housing Benefit is another matter.

    To say it upfront:
    You can't make a new claim for Housing Benefit (unless you are in temporary/supported accomodation or have SDP with another benefit), the law does not allow it.

    So you would have to appeal that HB should not have been stopped in the first place, and try to get it reinstated.

    The only way at the moment that I can see such an appeal working is if when it was terminated you would still have qualified for Housing Benefit on grounds of low income/savings.
    If that was the case then you could appeal against the decision to terminate Housing Benefit, and argue that it should have continued to be paid as a change of circumstances to low income basis, that the council made an error by terminating it, and so the decision to terminate should be revised and HB should be reinstated and backpaid.

    However it seems that the HB stopped because without the disregard your earnings took you out of the low income bracket, in which case I don't see any grounds for that particular appeal working.

    There is still another possibility though.
    There still remains the question of whether the disregard should have ended, normally that would be clear cut but under Covid there may be different rules.
    I'll need to check if there is anything specific to childcare disregards in HB during Covid.
    (If there is then the council may not have a leg to stand on).

    Bu if you would not have still qualified for HB (that is if they were correct in removing the disregard) then the council were correct to terminate HB and you cannot now get HB reinstated.


    Being honest, even if there is a chance of getting HB reinstated, you should strongly reconsider your stance about not claiming Universal Credit.
    You will probably find that you will actually be better off with UC than you would be with getting HB reinstated.
    If you have no particular reason for not claiming UC, other than just "not wanting to", then you may be cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Also remember that if you claim UC you will start getting it from the date you claim, it may take months to get HB reinstated, if you even can get it reinstated.

    Use one or more of the benefit calculators to find out what you would get if you claimed UC now, and compare that to your current income from benefits (including any HB that you may or may not get reinstated).
    https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

    In the meantime I'll look more into HB disregards during Covid to see what I can find and come back later, probably not until this evening at least though.

    PS. Looking back through your previous posts I see that you were/are on ESA in Support Group.
    I assume this is still Contribution Based only, £113.55 a week, with no top-ups?
    Last edited by nukecad; 19-11-20 at 05:53.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    That's a tricky one. (As usual more tricky because of Covid).

    I assume you mean that you were paying for Childcare and so an amount of your earnings / Tax Credits was being diregarded for HB & CTR purposes?
    And that you then stopped paying for childcare so the disegard no longer applied?
    If I'm right then was that due to Covid, or for other reasons?
    Were you childcare costs still being paid as Tax Credits?

    The situation with childcare costs and Covid is unclear and fraught with complications, not helped by the fact that things keep changing.
    (I'll have to see if I can find anything specific to this situation, you can't be the only ones).

    For now though:

    You need to seperate the HB and CTR in your mind, they are two seperate issues.

    The Council Tax Reduction is nothing to do with UC and if you are paying childcare costs again the disregard applies again, so CTR can be reclaimed now by making a new claim for CTR with the council.

    Housing Benefit is another matter.

    To say it upfront:
    You can't make a new claim for Housing Benefit (unless you are in temporary/supported accomodation or have SDP with another benefit), the law does not allow it.

    So you would have to appeal that HB should not have been stopped in the first place, and try to get it reinstated.

    The only way at the moment that I can see such an appeal working is if when it was terminated you would still have qualified for Housing Benefit on grounds of low income/savings.
    If that was the case then you could appeal against the decision to terminate Housing Benefit, and argue that it should have continued to be paid as a change of circumstances to low income basis, that the council made an error by terminating it, and so the decision to terminate should be revised and HB should be reinstated and backpaid.

    However it seems that the HB stopped because without the disregard your earnings took you out of the low income bracket, in which case I don't see any grounds for that particular appeal working.

    There is still another possibility though.
    There still remains the question of whether the disregard should have ended, normally that would be clear cut but under Covid there may be different rules.
    I'll need to check if there is anything specific to childcare disregards in HB during Covid.
    (If there is then the council may not have a leg to stand on).

    Bu if you would not have still qualified for HB (that is if they were correct in removing the disregard) then the council were correct to terminate HB and you cannot now get HB reinstated.


    Being honest, even if there is a chance of getting HB reinstated, you should strongly reconsider your stance about not claiming Universal Credit.
    You will probably find that you will actually be better off with UC than you would be with getting HB reinstated.
    If you have no particular reason for not claiming UC, other than just "not wanting to", then you may be cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Also remember that if you claim UC you will start getting it from the date you claim, it may take months to get HB reinstated, if you even can get it reinstated.

    Use one or more of the benefit calculators to find out what you would get if you claimed UC now, and compare that to your current income from benefits (including any HB that you may or may not get reinstated).
    https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

    In the meantime I'll look more into HB disregards during Covid to see what I can find and come back later, probably not until this evening at least though.

    PS. Looking back through your previous posts I see that you were/are on ESA in Support Group.
    I assume this is still Contribution Based only, £113.55 a week, with no top-ups?
    Thanks so much. Yes HB was stopped as our income was too high they said and we only got it due to the child care costs for some reason. When our child care costs stopped, we told HB, they stopped our HB and CTR. 2 months later we started to get new child care costs and thats when they refused it. Yes I get ESA in Support Group.
    I assume this is still Contribution Based only, £113.55 a week, with no top-ups, not sure what no top ups means but dont think I get any.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I asked about the ESA because if you were getting any top-up that would mean you had an entitlement to Income Realted ESA, which 'passports' you to Housing Benefit.
    However it's obvious now that your partners income is too high for that, or that they work more than 24 hrs/week.
    It was just clutching at straws really, to check if you should have been 'passported' to HB.

    I've done some more checking now.

    I've found an explanation of this stopping childcare situation on Rightsnet, an advisor was asking other advisors about someone who had stopped their childcare and thus lost their HB under the same circumstances and so then had to claim UC instead once childcare started again. Basically the same as your situation.
    It was posted in May so was under the lockdown/Covid rules. (Not that that matters, it would still have been the same without Covid).

    As ususal it's a bit complicated and works like this:
    • When childcare stops being paid then the disregard for HB also stops at the same time.
    • That's then complicated by the fact that the WTC for childcare will not be reduced until 4 weeks later.
      So you are still getting the same income/WTC even though the HB disregard has gone because you are no longer paying for childcare.
    • That means that the childcare disregard for HB has stopped but the WTC is still being paid at the same rate, which often takes you over the 'low income' threshold for HB.
    • In such a case HB payment is stopped but claim is still active, it is in what is known as a 'closed-period supersession' but not yet terminated.
    • If once the WTC is reduced by the removal of childcare costs your earnings/WTC fall to below the low income threshold again then the HB payments can be resumed on low income grounds.
    • However if the reduction in WTC is not enough to take earnings/WTC to below the threshold then HB is terminated.

    I've also checked the Housing Benefit circulars for 2020 (sent by the DWP to councils to update them on HB matters) and the disregard for childcare was not increased for Covid.
    Circular A1/2020 was about the anual updating and states states:
    Disregards in HB which remain unchanged

    19. The childcare disregards in HB in line with Working Tax Credit weekly equivalents, remain at:

    £175.00 for one child
    £300.00 for two or more children
    That means that that much of your income is not counted for HB 'low income' purposes as long as you are getting WTC for childcare and are paying that childcare.
    Which is what the council meant when they said you - "only got it due to the child care costs".

    There has been no further change to that disregard mentioned in any of the circulars, but that wouldn't matter anyway because having no childcare costs means there is no disregard for them, whatever the disregard rate.

    The HB disregard for WTC Additional Earnings was increased for Covid in August, from £17.10 to £37.10. (circular A7/2020).
    I'm not sure if you (your partner) qualify for WTC Additional Earnings, but even if so I don't think that the extra £20 disregard for that would have been anywhere near enough to make up for the loss of the childcare disregard anyway. (Unless you were very, very close to the low income limit).


    Taking everything into account then I do not believe that an appeal against the decision to terminate your housing benefit would succeed.
    It appears that the council were correct in your particular circumstances to suspend HB payment when the childcare stopped, and then terminate it when your income remained above the low income limit.
    That's my opinion based on what you have said and what I have found about such a situation.

    My advice is that, as you have already been advised by the council, you should now be claiming UC to get help with your housing costs (rent).
    As well as the Housing Element that would give you a childcare element as well as the standard child element.
    You may be able to claim up to 85 per cent of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit and meet some additional conditions. The amounts you can receive in childcare costs are:

    a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child
    a maximum of £1108.04 per month for 2 or more children
    As you are still getting ESA Support Group then there would also be a UC-LCWRA element of £341.92 added to the UC payment. Your ESA would still be paid seperately and deducted £ for £ from the UC payment.
    Again because of the ESA Support Group you/your partner would have a UC 'Work Allowance' that you can earn before it affects UC payments, as you will be claiming Housing Element then that work allowance will be £292 a month that you/your partner can earn before UC is affected.

    WTC (and any CTC) would stop, but those extra elements/allowances in UC may well more than make up for that, you need to check.
    To check just what you would expect to get with UC use the online benefit calculators linked in my post above.

    The sooner you claim UC then the sooner you can start receiving the money.

    Of course the other option is not to claim UC and stay as you are, - but that's stay as you are now without any help towards the rent.
    I doubt that will be better overall than claiming UC, even if it does means losing the WTC.
    Last edited by nukecad; 19-11-20 at 17:12.
    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.

  5. #5
    Hi,

    Thank you ever so much for taking the time to do this. So very very helpful.

    I am nervous, as want to make 100% certain that my current Contribution based ESA support group or my DLA will not be lost or disolved into Universal Credit?

    I read that if I switch to UC I may be placed in the limited capability for work and work related activity 'LCWRA' group which means that having LCW means you won't have to work, but you might need to do some work-related activities??? I am currently in the ESA Support group CB.

    Will I get any types of other tests/exams/assesments other than the normal ESA50 ones that I normally get if I am in the LCWRA? ie LCWRA assesments?


    Do ESA get informed I have switched to UC?
    Would switching to UC trigger a ESA50? have people found this happens?

    I spoke to ESA helpline and they said that, it is possible, not very likely, but if I switch to UC, then UC may switch me over the NEW STYLE ESA or even ask for a new assesment before it is due.
    Last edited by lastfirst; 20-11-20 at 15:26.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    CB ESA and DLA will not be affected by UC at all. They are not Income Related and so have nothing to do with UC.

    You have to be careful what you read about UC.
    Most of it applies to new claims and not to those who already have ESA before claiming UC.
    And a lot of what you read online is out of date, what used to happen as little as two years ago has been changed usually for the better.
    Plus UC staff now have a more experience with 'migrations' than they did a couple of years ago. (And they have had lot more experience of them with all the new UC claims during Covid.

    You WILL be put in UC-LCWRA, that's the law there is no 'may be' about it.

    The telephone helpline staff are poorly trained though and often haven't been told about that law - so they tell you the wrong thing, they tell you what normally applies to a new request for LCWRA by someone who doesn't already have ESA SG.
    The UC processing staff do know and payments get set up correctly (although it can take a month or two because of paperwork), it used to be a problem in the past but they have more experience these days.
    If UC-LCWRA does take a month or two to set up because of the paperwork it will be backpaid to the start of your UC claim, but they are getting quicker at doing it.
    And of course you will still getting paid your CB ESA anyway.

    Just get back to that law.
    It's "The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014" Regulation 19, you can see it here under 'The legal bit': https://www.youreable.com/forums/sho...l=1#post133915

    As it tells you there there is no legal requirement for a new UC50 or Assessment and by law they have to pay the LCWRA from the start of your UC claim - but you may be due for reassessment anyway and they can reassess at any time.
    So if they say that they can't include LCWRA from the start, and you have to have an assessment, then they are wrong, they have to include LCWRA by law. But they could decide to do a reassessment anyway.

    If they do decide to do a reassessment the decision will apply to both UC and ESA.

    The money you get for CB ESA will be deducted £ for £ from the UC payment, so you'd still get the same overall.
    For that reason some will terminite their CB ESA claim voluntarily so that they only have to deal with one benefit, UC.
    As you have a working partner then you probably shouldn't do that, if your partners future earnings were to increase (or you got a future windfall, say lottery win) that could take you out of UC but the CB ESA would still continue.

    ESA will be informed that you have claimed UC, they have to be so that they can confirm you are Support Group and get LCWRA added to UC, but as yours is CB ESA only then it won't make any difference to your ESA.

    Whether 'Old Style' ESA becomes 'New Style' ESA when you claim UC is a debatable point.
    There is nothing in law to say it does that, if it' 'Old Style' ESA it should remain 'Old Style' ESA.
    However the DWP are tending to call all 'CB only' ESA awards 'New Stlye' ESA anyway - if/once you have claimed UC.
    TBH it doesn't realy make any practical difference, the regulations (laws) governing Old Style and New Style are exactly the same when it comes to CB ESA.
    (The only difference is that the 'Old Style' reguations include regs for IR ESA as well, the 'New Style' regs don't need to do that).

    If you have Old style CB only ESA, with no chance of getting IR ESA premiums added (because you've already claimed UC), then Old Style and New Style are exactly the same.
    So it's just easier for their staff (and their training) to refer to all 'CB only' ESA as New Style.

    Have you run one of the benefit calculators yet to check what you should expect to get with UC?
    Last edited by nukecad; 20-11-20 at 18:50.
    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.

  7. #7
    Thanks so much, so unbelievably helpful.

    I worry though as you mentioned "but you may be due for reassessment anyway and they can reassess at any time."

    The advisor on the phone even spoke to a manager and they said, as you said, UC contacts ESA to confirm I am in the support group CB. UC may then decide to do a reassessment anyway right after putting me into the UC-LCWRA, whereas I may have had another year or so of stressfree ESA50 assesments. Maybe best not to rock the boat, have enough stress of other things right now, even though I will be better off by £200 per month on UC after doing the calculator thing.

    But is the UC50 harder to pass than the ESA50?
    Is it the same as ESA50 where they send you a form and you fill it in and send it back and then they either are happy with it and continue the claim or they send you for a face to face appointment?
    If you pass the UC50 how long do you stay on UC-LCWRA before an assesment? with ESA50 its I think either 1,2,3 years maybe?

    So even though I will be on the CB ESA it will be a UC50 assesment form I will get and not a ESA50 form?

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I will be better off by £200 per month on UC
    So what are you waiting for?

    The ESA50 and UC50 are exacly the same (except that one says ESA and the other says UC and is more colourful, well more blue at least).
    The questions on both are exactly the same, in exactly the same order.

    The assessments are exacly the same.
    The assessmens are carried out by exactly the same people, at exactly the same places, they could do an ESA assessment for one person and then a UC assessment for the next - there is no difference.

    The decision made, and the time given until next reassessment is exactly the same.

    I think you are getting the idea - It's all exactly the same.

    If you have both CB ESA and UC then one (re)assessment is for both at the same time.
    Yes, in that case they will send a UC50, but as said, its exactly the same as an ESA50 apart from the saying ESA or UC.

    As to 'they can reassess at any time' that has always been the case with ESA, there is nothing new there.

    At the moment they are actively avoiding doing reassessments if they are not needed.
    They are only doing (re)assessments by telephone, and cannot find you fit-for-work or LCW, they cannot reduce your current award.
    The only decisions they are making at the moment are Support Group/UC-LCWRA or stay as you currently are.

    OK, you might have a telephone reassessment - anyone might, moving to UC or not - but at the moment if you are already in Support Group then that can't be changed.
    (If you are in WRAG/LCW that can go up to Support Group/LCWRA but can't go down, they are not finding anybody fit-for-work).

    There has never been a better time than now to move to UC without worrying about a possible reassessment.

    Will you really give up an extra £200 a month for fear of something that will not, that cannot at the moment, be changed anyway?


    If you stay as you are for just another year that's two and a half thousand pounds that you will have lost by being worried about the possibility of filling in a form that you probably won't get anyway, I'm willing to bet that your partner would have something to say about that.

    PS. If you want to compare an ESA50 and a UC50 you can download them from these webpages (Even those pages are the basically same apart from saying ESA or UC):
    ESA50
    UC50
    Last edited by nukecad; 21-11-20 at 13:33.
    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.

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