Housing Benefit: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Housing Benefit claimants who (1) are currently self-isolating or shielding from COVID-19, and (2) are temporarily absent from their main dwelling within the UK and who intend to return when medically safe to do so, (a) have been granted extensions for a temporary absence from home for 52 weeks, and (b) have had applications for extension on medical grounds rejected, in the last six months.

Photo of Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance is given to those making decisions on applications by Universal Credit claimants for a temporary absence from home on medical grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the effectiveness of (1) the process for applying for, and (2) the application of the policy for, temporary absences from home on medical grounds for (a) Housing Benefit, and (b) Universal Credit, claimants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continues to support existing benefit recipients in exceptional cases where their absence from home goes over the period allowed under the temporary absence benefit rules as they are self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Although the DWP has overall responsibility for the Housing Benefit scheme and its funding, local authorities have the statutory responsibility for its day-to-day administration. This includes the assessment of individual claims for benefit. Although local authority staff will keep a record on individual claims when a claimant is absent from home, this information isn’t recorded centrally.

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