Help please

lil'H Forumite Posts: 514 Forumite
Hi everyone,

Ok am in a bit of dispute regarding my housing benefit claim, and hoping some brainbox might be able to help me. I normally post on the DFW board but thought this would be the right place for this one.

OK basically I was a student for the last 3 years (had my graduation ceremony today and looked like Harry Potter). As a single young mum I got a childcare grant to help. HOWEVER as i am under 25 they based this on my parents income, and dispite not desputing my childcare costs (my son only went 3 days a week) I only recieved 50% of my childcare grant and they said my parents should pick up the rest. My parents are retired adn could not do so so I had to pay the rest out of my student loan.

I informed housing benefit of this but they did not take my child care costs into account. During that period (i'll give figures for the first year as an example) I was basically on this SOA

Child care cost £6000 per year
Rent contribution after Housing benefit £2000 a year

Childcare grant £3000
Student Loan £5000

So my student loan paid my chidl care and rent only, not other living costs which came out of my child benefit and child tax credit (approx £60 a week).

OK Housing rules apparently state they can't take into account all of your student loan (some has to cover books travel etc) however they just ignore your child care costs whether or not you get that covered.

So only after speaking to a housing officer (who was new and could not tell me much more) aparently my last three years of housing benefit really should have taken this into account and I may have been underpaid. My own housing benefit officer said it wouldn't be rebated, but i could get that in writing ifd I sent in proof of all of the figures (Which I have), and on reciept of a letter stating this I could appeal.

She also said the appeal wouldn't work because of the regulations, she was very sympathetic and said I should try my MP as the regulations discriminate against students who are trying to find a way away form benefits. Basically I was £3000 a year worse off after childcare and rent than if I had been on income support.

So what do you all reakon, where do I go from here? Worth pursueing, what way, how, help!!!! Any one knowledgeable in this area?

Riding out the receession.........


  • chugalug
    chugalug Forumite Posts: 969 Forumite
    I used to work with HB but don't have any up to date reference materials to hand so I'll answer as best I can. I will say though that you need to get specialist welfare benefits advice with this one - either via the CAB or Shelter. You can find your nearest Shelter at

    HB can only be backdated for a maximum of 52 weeks unless you have been misadvised - I would assume a miscalculation by the LA would count as misadvice from a professional body? Have you written to dispute the assessment? You really need to do this within 30 days of the last assessment you received which you believe to be wrong? If you're out of time you need expert help.

    From what I remember childcare costs are only disregarded for the purposes of HB if they come from 'earned' income ie wages. Student income isn't counted as wages. You need an expert to check this. If this is still correct its likely you haven't been underpaid.

    The rules change all the time as you know and your HB would have to be checked with the rules that were in force at the time. Get an expert to check your assessments and go from there. HTH
    ~A mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework~
  • CIS
    CIS Forumite Posts: 12,260
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    When you HB was being paid how much short of your actul arent was it ?
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • lil'H
    lil'H Forumite Posts: 514 Forumite
    CIS wrote:
    When you HB was being paid how much short of your actul arent was it ?
    Hi CIS,

    I was short by around £280 a month, over the first year, and then £150 over the last two years, i suspect it's too late, but even if I can get a bit of it back if i was undepaid it would really help. Am in the process of putting all the paperwork together to question it, whilst I'm sure I will be told there is nothing they can do want it in writing so that I can then take that to CAB.

    Riding out the receession.........
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