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Ombudsman criticises benefit issues

2020 - January, Latest news

Housing benefit issues are forcing families into homelessness according to a report from the Local Government Ombudsman.

The organisation investigated 491 cases involving housing benefit claims in the year 2018-9 and upheld 8 out of 10 of the complaints.

Problems including administrative errors, unnecessary delays, and too strict interpretation of rules had led to families being forced into unsuitable accommodation or even onto the streets, the report says.

PA Housing has specialist advisers in all aspects of housing regulation who support customers facing difficulties with benefit claims and other issues. For example, when tenants move onto Universal Credit the housing benefit portion is no longer paid directly to us, which can lead to debt and the risk of eviction.

Our Universal Credit Hub has helped scores of tenants avoid eviction by supporting them with their UC claims and ensuring they receive all the benefits they are entitled to.

The report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman says mistakes and delays in benefit administration add to the pressures households face, causing growing rent arrears, even in cases that are later upheld.

Coupled with a lack of flexibility on rights to appeal, the situation puts more and more families at risk. It cites cases where benefit appeals were turned down simply because claimants failed to use correct wording in their applications.

Can we help you?

If you need help, advice or support with Universal Credit or benefit advice in general, please get in touch with the team.

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