Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 23-Mar-2022
Summary: Mr B complained about the way the Council dealt with his claims for housing benefit and council tax reduction. We found the Council delayed for a year in revising Mr B's claims once he had provided the necessary information. While the delay (due to the cyber-attack in October 2020) was largely outside the Council's control, it was service failure which caused Mr B financial hardship and distress. The Council has agreed to pay Mr B £200.
Statement Not upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 15-Mar-2022
Summary: Mrs C complains about how the Council handled her housing benefit. She says she did not receive letters about changes to her housing benefit award which led to her being in arrears, and some of her housing benefit was allocated towards a property she had already vacated. We have discontinued this investigation as the Council has already resolved the matter the Ombudsman is able to investigate.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 03-Mar-2022
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about benefit overpayments. The Council has now offered a reasonable remedy and Ms X had a right of appeal to a tribunal.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 21-Feb-2022
Summary: Miss X complained the Council failed to properly consider her application for Discretionary Housing Payment, causing her to fall into rent arrears. We found the Council did not properly consider a recent change in Miss X's circumstances when assessing her application and in its later review. The Council agreed to apologise, reconsider Miss X's application, and if it changes its decision, pay Miss X a financial remedy for avoidable uncertainty. The Council also agreed to issue reminders to its staff and review its application form.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 15-Feb-2022
Summary: Mr X complains on behalf of Mr Y that the Council delayed passing his housing benefit appeal to the tribunal after it upheld its earlier decision to recover an overpayment. The Council is at fault. There was delay submitting the appeal to the tribunal. This did not cause Mr Y a significant injustice, but may be causing injustice to others. The Council has agreed to review its procedures.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 18-Jan-2022
Summary: Miss Y complains about the Council's decision to refuse her application for a Discretionary Housing Payment while she was pregnant and caring for a young child. The Ombudsman finds fault by the Council, which caused Miss Y distress and uncertainty. This is because we find the Council failed to consider government guidance on good practice when handling applications, such as Miss Y's, where the applicant is pregnant and has childcare duties that are a barrier to getting work. To remedy this, the Council has agreed to apologise to Miss Y, make her a payment and make a fresh decision on her application. The Council has agreed to make several service improvements.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 14-Jan-2022
Summary: Mr B complained about the Council's failure to consider backdating a Discretionary Housing Payment and review the amount it awarded. We did not find fault in how the Council considered the amount to award Mr B. However, we found fault in the Council's failure to consider Mr B's application to backdate his payment which caused him inconvenience. The Council agreed to reconsider Mr B's request for a backdated payment to address the injustice.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 05-Jan-2022
Summary: Ms X complains she claimed housing benefit, but the Council did not advise her she must claim universal credit. She says had to borrow money due to the Council's failure to properly advise her. We found the Council was at fault and recommended a remedy.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 20-Oct-2021
Summary: Mr X complained the Council took deductions from his Housing Benefit from October 2016 at the same time the Department of Work and Pension took deductions. Mr X also complained the Council incorrectly reduced his Housing Benefits from April 2019 to February 2020. The Mr X says the Council's action caused his landlord to threaten repossession of his flat and caused him stress, anxiety and financial hardship. The Ombudsman found fault with the Council for taking deductions at the same time as the DWP. The Ombudsman also found fault with the Council incorrectly reducing Mr X's housing benefits and for the delays in responding to Mr X's complaints. The Council agreed to the Ombudsman's recommendation to refund Mr X his overpayments of £828.24 and pay him £1,500 for the prolonged distress, anxiety and financial hardship caused.
Statement Upheld Housing benefit and council tax benefit 12-Oct-2021
Summary: Miss B complained about the Council's failure to pay her the correct amount of housing benefit and council tax support since the cyber-attack in October 2020. We found there was service failure in the delay in paying Miss B the correct amount of benefit and a continued delay in paying her all the money she is owed. This has caused her severe financial hardship for a significant period of time. The Council has agreed to pay her £250 and provide a time frame for paying her the outstanding money.