Proposed changes to temporary absence for Housing Benefit and Pension Credit
Plans to redefine temporary absence for Housing Benefit and Pension Credit could be problematic for claimants moving between NI and GB
The Law Centre and Housing Rights have published a joint response to the Social Security Advisory Committee consultation on changes to allowed temporary absence for Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.
DWP proposes to amend the Housing Benefit and State Pension Credit regulations to reduce the period of allowable absence from outside Great Britain, generally from 13 weeks to 4 weeks. It is a condition of entitlement to both benefits that claimants are in Great Britain, although the regulations provide that temporary absences are permitted in some instances. This is part of a series of measures to harmonise existing Regulations with the Universal Credit system.
In this response, Law Centre (NI) and Housing Rights highlight that plans to redefine “temporary absence” for Housing Benefit /pensions might create difficulties for claimants moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
We do not support the proposed changes. However, if the changes do proceed, we would recommend that the Social Security Advisory Committee seek a commitment from the Department to monitor the impact of these Regulations given their potential impact.
We would also recommend that the Social Security Advisory Committee scrutinises the equivalent Northern Ireland regulations when available.
See the response here: Housing Benefit and State Pension Credit (Temporary Absence) (Amendment) Regulations 2016