European migrants and Housing Benefit

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Changes in the law last year prevented most new migrants from Europe being able to claim Housing Benefit or Job Seekers Allowance. However, an important exception was given for people who were already claiming benefits on the date that the changes came in. Although new arrivals could no longer make claims, people who were receiving Housing Benefit and JSA on the 31st March 2015 were generally protected and could continue to claim. In November last year though, the government brought in a further restriction. People in this protected group had to prove they had a realistic prospect of actually finding work if they were to continue to receive benefits. Although this rule has been in place for some time, it has been implemented slowly. We are now seeing affected claimants in Sandwell being asked to attend interviews where if they fail to convince the Job Centre that they are likely to soon be in ‘genuine and effective’ employment,’ their benefits including Housing Benefit will stop. Landlords (and advice workers) should be aware that this process is taking place now and that some well established tenants who have relied on Housing Benefit up to now, will no longer qualify. As usual, this post is only a very brief summary of some quite complex rules. More information is available on gov.uk.

Oliver

 

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