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ESA claimants hit by unlawful HB stoppages


The DWP have had to issue an urgent bulletin to all housing benefit staff to try to prevent them unlawfully stopping housing benefit payments to sick and disabled claimants who have had their employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctioned.

The ‘Urgent Bulletin’ has been issued in response to groups representing claimants pointing out that some jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and ESA claimants are wrongly losing their passported housing benefit when hit with a JSA or ESA sanction.

It appears that some local authority staff cannot tell the difference between a sanction, where a claimant remains entitled to the sanctioned benefit even if they do not receive payments or get reduced payments, and a disallowance, where the claim itself ends.

Reminders have been issued to staff about this issue since 2010, but apparently the message has still not sunk in, leading to desperate hardship and the threat of eviction for affected claimants.

You can download Urgent Bulletin HB U1/2015 from this link.


#5 Elaine Burrows 2016-01-14 20:00
@june cunningham

Yes I can well believe that the DWP are guilty of such stupidity from the dealings I have had with them.
Or it might be that they just don't care that people fall into arrears with their rent for not realising that their HB has been stopped.
#4 june cunningham 2016-01-14 13:57
as above
#3 june cunningham 2016-01-14 13:56
In my sons case the dwp actually said in the letter to the housing benefit office that the benefit was stopped instead of being suspended,
It comes down to the illiteracy of the staff not able to use the correct phrasing.
#2 Elaine Burrows 2015-10-10 20:09
II'm not convinced that this is the fault of HB staff.
If the DWP notifies HB offices that a claimant's benefits have stopped, they may not have made it clear why. In fact I would put money on it.
So HB staff will suspend HB on receipt of such a notification as they have no way of knowing whether the claimant has moved into work or acquired other financial resources which would result in hefty overpayments of HB. It's then down to the claimant to notify HB office and let them know they still need to claim HB.
#1 David Jones 2015-10-07 04:33
I thought HB was assessed on your income, so why should a stoppage of ESA result in your HB being stopped? It might change the amount of HB you're entitled to, as you'll no longer qualify for any disability top ups but surely shouldn't stop completely?

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