Need some advice with regards to Houing Benefot and Residence Orders please.
I have for the last 7 or 8 year's been living in privately rented accomadation and in receipt of HB (Single Person's) allowance.
In 2011 i was awarded a joint shared residence order by a judge, and i then had to remove myself from the family home through the ex obtaining a larger percentage in her favour via the use of the Childrens Act.
For two years i jointly rented a property with my mother who had relocated back to the UK from NZ....otherwise i wouldve been sleeping in a cardboard box in a doorway somewhere. I assumed because i was living with my mother that i would not be able to apply for HB so i did not even bother to apply. (not a lot i coud do about it after two years)
After those two years passed my mum sold her house in NZ so she then planned to move out of the property and i would become the sole tenant on my own and so subsequently applied for HB.
This is when i was awarded the single rate as the council argued that i did not have any children living with me and it was not thier main residence then they were not obliged to pay me more then the single person allowance.....if i wanted i could apply for DHP to top up my rent which i did and was awarded it for 6 months. Over the last 7/8 years i have been awarded DHP 5 times i believe (might be 4 times)
The last time i applied for DHP almost two years ago i was told in no uncertain terms that i was living in a property that was unsuitable for a single man (three bed bungalow) and that i should consider moving to somewhere cheaper.....therefore i have not bothered to re-apply as i assume i will get the same responce. Once again there is no mention of the fact that i have two children + one step child whom i have a residence order for from a judge.
After looking at various court cases online recently i have read somewhere that it is not for a LHA to determine a decision that goes against a judge's decision?? The fact that i was awarded a residence order means that i have children living with me and that is a fact of law determined by a judge.
So what i would like to know is are my LHA in thier decsion to award a single person allowance breaking the law and should i actually be recieving a larger amount then the single persons allowance? This would make a massive difference to my income as presently i am using all of my award of DLA plus some of the ESA to cover the shortfall on the rent.
To say i am stressed about it is an understatement and i am becoming even more depressed at the size of my credit card debt as i cannot maintain the bills every month. Also for the last 12 months i have had no income from my 5 hours of Permitted Work which usually gets me close to what i need to see me through the month but not having that means i am slowly but surely sinking further and further into debt....which is not great for my mental helath.
I appreciate the last 12 months has been very difficult for many people but ive been struggling for many years with this issue and having a disability that effects my ability to actually function anywhere near a normal person means i have ignored it for far too long.
Therefore i was curious to know whether anyone had any advice as to whether or not i woud be able to claim for more then a singe persons allowance, or whether i would have a case against the council for continual descrimination.
P.S. The council have always stated thet the person in reciept of the child benefit is the person whom would qualify for more assistance in regard to housing. Unfortunatly in my case that is the mother of my children who is in full time education and does not claim HB but refuses to allow me to claim CB for any of the kids. (mostly i believe because she is fearful that i would put in a claim to the CSA against her)
Thanks for any advice and apologies for the rather long post...well done if you made it this far!! lol
I am afraid this sounds like one for the complaints system for HB/UC. You could enlist the help of your local MP and the CAB. Shelter may also be able to advise.
If the Order is for 50:50 shared care and/ or is a joint lives with order I would hope you would have no problem getting it sorted. If it is shared care and they are with you for less of the time, you may find children of the same sex would be expected to share a room. That may have an impact on your housing need.