Response - SSAC: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Backdating

By: Francesca Albanese  Published: May 2008


Shelter has serious concerns about the proposed changes. We understand that the rationale for this change is to simplify the benefit system and bring arrangements for HB and CTB backdating in line with those for other income related benefits. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the achievement of this objective warrants the adverse impact which the proposed changes are likely to have on some of our most vulnerable households.

Summary

Shelter welcomes this opportunity to respond to the Social Security Advisory Committee’s consultation concerning the following proposals:

Reducing the time limit for pensioners to claim pension credit, housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) from 12 to 3 months;

Reducing the backdating period for HB/CTB customers of working age from 12 to 3 months; and

Allowing pension credit to be retained for up to 13 weeks of a temporary absence abroad.

Shelter’s consultation response will specifically examine the first two proposals, to reduce the backdating period from 12 to 3 months for housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) for both pensioners and working age claimants. This will address information set out in the explanatory memorandum and accompanying equality impact assessment (EQIA).

Overall, Shelter has serious concerns about the proposed changes. We understand that the rationale for this change is to simplify the benefit system and bring arrangements for HB and CTB backdating in line with those for other income related benefits. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the achievement of this objective warrants the adverse impact which the proposed changes are likely to have on some of our most vulnerable households.

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