Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th April 2018.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) disentitled and (b) sanctioned claimants of (i) jobseekers allowance and (ii) employment support allowance retain their entitlement to Housing Benefit.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department has previously investigated claims that Housing Benefit (HB) has been suspended or terminated as a result of a sanction being applied and has been unable to identify any evidence to support this assertion. No new evidence has been presented to suggest that this is happening.

When a sanction is applied entitlement to benefits will continue but benefit will not be payable for a fixed period of time. If a claimant is in receipt of passported HB then payment should continue without interruption.

If a claimant is disentitled to JSA or ESA then the local authority will issue an HB claim form to establish entitlement to HB only on low income grounds. The HB claim may be terminated if the claimant fails to respond to this request for information but this termination is not as a result of the sanction being applied.

The Department continues to monitor payment of HB through an annual, independent audit of all 380 local authorities. This includes a check that all processes have been followed correctly. No audit has identified any example of claimants having their HB claim suspended inappropriately following a sanction being applied.

The Department has committed to investigate any case where we are presented with evidence that HB has been suspended incorrectly following a sanction being applied.

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