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NHAS help Citizens Advice resulting in housing benefit overpayment being written off

Posted on 16/06/22 in Case Study

NHAS help Citizens Advice resulting in housing benefit overpayment being written off

Our free advice line gives specialist advice on housing, housing debt, and welfare benefit issues. 

An NHAS adviser recently helped Citizens Advice assist their client who had been overpaid housing benefit. Due to an underlying entitlement the debt was written off.

What was the problem?

A Citizens Advice worker contacted the advice line about a housing benefit overpayment for temporary accommodation which had been occupied by a married couple and their six children. 

The claim was made in the wife’s name as housing benefit claims can only be made in one person’s name. She went abroad in November 2019 and due to various circumstances, was not able to return to the UK. Housing benefit continued to be paid until the local authority was informed that the client had been out of the country. 

The client’s husband then made a claim for housing benefit and was accepted, but was notified there had been a housing benefit overpayment of approximately £40,000.

What we did

Our adviser explained that although the overpayment decision was correct, they could argue that it should be reduced due to the husband having an underlying entitlement to housing benefit for the same period.

Our adviser asked when the client was informed of the overpayment, if he was invited to provide information to show there was an underlying entitlement, and if he was still within the deadline to provide this information. If the client was outside of these parameters he would need to ask for a reconsideration of the decision. 

Outcome

The Citizens Advice worker got back in contact and told us they used the underlying entitlement advice provided and the overpayment was reduced to £0.