Changes to Housing Benefit payments
From April, changes will be made to claiming backdated payments as well as the amounts paid when a claimant is overseas.
What will change from April 2016?
Backdating Housing Benefits
If you are of working age and are making a claim for Housing Benefit you will no longer be able to have payment backdated for more than four weeks.
You will only be able to request this backdated payment for up to four weeks if you can provide the Local Authority with a good explanation as to why you did not apply sooner.
Currently, residents of working age who make an application for Housing Benefit can have their claim backdated for up to six months if a good cause is given for not applying sooner.
Housing Benefit claims when travelling
Residents claiming Housing Benefit have until now been allowed to receive payments while being absent from the UK. Entitlement continues as long the absence is for no more than 13 weeks. This covers situations where a family member abroad is critically ill or has died and the claimant needs to deal with the estate – but other reasons are accepted too.
From April 2016, payments will be made for 4 weeks when a claimant goes abroad. In cases where a person is dealing with a death or illness, the payment will continue for eight weeks.
If you are a claimant who is going abroad for up to eight weeks, it's important therefore to keep evidence of your departure and arrival, as well as evidence of any medical treatments or estate issues. Those who will be taking a longer trip should make arrangements to pay rent during their absence.
Please contact our Welfare Benefits and Money Advice Team for further information.