Housing Benefit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of David Anderson David Anderson Labour, Blaydon

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 October 2014 to Question 209233 for what reason the information is not available.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions publishes monitoring returns from local authorities that give a breakdown of Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) awards by broad category, including to recipients of Housing Benefit subject to Local Housing Allowance calculations. Further detail, for example awards to those subject to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR), is not available. Returns are voluntary and information is not provided by all local authorities. The returns give the number of awards, which may not equate to the number of people receiving them; some people may receive more than one award over the period.

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The Department’s housing benefit administrative database, compiled from electronic data supplied by local authorities, identifies by gender and age those Housing Benefit claimants that are assessed by the SAR in the given area. These data are taken from scans of local authority systems. They also hold some information on whether a DHP is being made to the claimant at that time. The recording of this information on the electronic data is incomplete and not reliable.

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