Recent statements in this category are shown below:
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 10-May-2021
Summary: Mr and Mrs Y have made a complaint about the Council wrongly suspending their right to housing benefit. The Council was acting on the reliance of information from the Department for Work and Pensions, but it reasonably should have known the information was wrong. This caused Mr and Mrs Y distress and temporary rent arears. The Ombudsman has therefore recommended specific actions to remedy the injustice.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 14-Apr-2021
Summary: The Council was at fault for wrongly paying Discretionary Housing Payment into an account that was not Mr X's. The Council has repaid Mr X and put in place actions to stop this occurring again. The Council was also at fault for the delay in handling Mr X's complaint. The Council has agreed to make a payment to Mr X in recognition of the delay.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 31-Mar-2021
Summary: Mr X complained the Council wrongly demanded money in November 2019 for a housing benefit overpayment he had already paid. The information provided shows that deductions from Mr X's salary in 2014 were council tax payments. The Council's delay for five years in taking recovery action is fault and the Council should apologise for this.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 25-Mar-2021
Summary: Mr X complained about the way the Council handled housing benefit payments for the tenancy of a property where his mother lived before she moved into a care home. He considered the failings meant there was an overpayment of benefit. There was fault by the Council which caused injustice to Mr X. It will apologise to him and make a payment.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 23-Mar-2021
Summary: Mrs X complained the Council issued her with an invoice for overpayment of housing benefit, nearly two years after she stopped receiving housing benefit. Mrs X disputed the overpayment amount of £3266 which was accrued between 2013 and 2016. The Council was at fault for the delay in issuing the final invoice. It has already apologised for this which is a suitable remedy for the distress it caused. Mrs X's complaint about the Council's general administration of the overpayments between 2013 and 2016 is late and it was reasonable for Mrs X to have used her right of appeal to the tribunal at the time.
Statement Not upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 18-Mar-2021
Summary: Mr X complains the Council unfairly sought recovery of overpaid housing benefit from him through the courts. He says the overpayment occurred because of errors made by the Council. He also complains the Council did not give him a reasonable amount of time to make payment. We find no fault in this matter and have concluded our investigation.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 16-Mar-2021
Summary: Ms X complained the Council took until March 2020 to correctly assess a housing benefit claim made in October 2016. Ms X says this delay led directly to her eviction in 2017. There is significant delay in this case which is fault. However, the benefit underpayment did not clear Ms X's rent arrears and so it cannot be said that the eviction would not have taken place but for the Council's fault.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 11-Mar-2021
Summary: Ms Y complains about the way the Council dealt with her housing benefit applications and requests for an appeal. We found fault by the Council as it failed to progress Ms Y's housing benefit appeals to the Tribunals Services. The Council also failed to clearly advise Ms Y of its decision to write off an overpayment of housing benefit and action it . We have recommended a suitable remedy so have completed our investigation.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 05-Mar-2021
Summary: Ms Y complained the Council acted unfairly in recovery of overpaid housing benefits to Mr X. Ms Y said the Council left Mr X confused, upset and with money problems. The Ombudsman will not investigate the overpayment because of the right to appeal to the Tribunal. The Ombudsman will not investigate matters that arose more than 12 months ago, as Mr X could have complained sooner. The Ombudsman finds fault with the Council for delays, debt collection practices and confusing communication with Mr X. The Council agreed to apologise to Mr X and apply a reduction to his overpayment debt with £1,000. The Council also agreed to review its appeal process and provide training about retention of appeal rights and overpayment recovery.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 04-Mar-2021
Summary: Miss B complained that the Council failed to advise her correctly about her benefit entitlement when she became unemployed. The Council has agreed to pay £100 to Miss B.