First off – our landlord portal is now up and running again after a short break while we applied some essential updates. Apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused.
Last month, I blogged about new Department of Work and Pensions rules on Housing Benefit back-dating. Apologies for returning to the subject so quickly, but we didn’t then have the final confirmation. This has come through and is available online in the DWP circular HB A3/2016. It confirms that for claimants of working age – Housing Benefit can only be backdated for a maximum of one month. And don’t forget – even this limited period can only be awarded if ‘good cause’ can be shown as to why the claim wasn’t made at the right time. The circular also covers the withdrawal of the ‘Family Premium.’ This is a part of how we calculate benefit for some families and could mean a drop in their entitlement.
My real concern in this post though is backdating. We see so many people get into trouble because they make their claim late. Or, we receive their claim but they don’t supply information we have asked for, so it gets refused. They then have to submit a new claim which all too often only comes in after further delays. The result can be a tenant left with substantial rent arrears. So it’s a really simple message we want to get across: If someone wants to claim Housing Benefit – don’t delay – do it immediately. And once a claim has been submitted – if we ask for information, let us have it as soon as you possibly can.