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Home Page > Housing > Benefits, Grants and Support > Welfare Reform > Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

From April 2013, LHA should be simpler to understand and easier for people to plan for the future when they know the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that will be available for the year ahead. Additionally there is no incentive for a landlord to continually increase rents as LHA rates will only change annually.

Removal of Anniversary Dates

LHA will be reviewed in April each year and LHA rates will no longer change month on month, but will be subject to an annual review only.

The process for reviewing the LHA at the anniversary date of the claim is no longer a requirement. This is because all claimants will have their benefit assessed each April when the new rates take effect.

The provision for reviews at the anniversary date was abolished from January 2013.

Additional room allowances.

The existing allowances of 1 room each for:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children aged under 10
  • Any other child, (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • A carer (or team of carers) who do not live with you but provide you or your partner with overnight care.

Have been added to and now include 3 extra categories:

  • An approved foster carer or kinship carer who has had a child placed with them within the last 52 weeks, or who has become approved within the last 52 weeks. Find out more information
  • An adult son, daughter, stepson or stepdaughter who is member of the armed forces and currently away from their normal home on operations. Find out more information
  • A severely disabled child who cannot share a room because of their disability. Find out more information

More information - approved foster /kinship carer

Housing Benefit claimants who are approved foster or kinship carerswill be allowed an additional room, whether or not a child has been placed with them or they are between placements, so long as they have fostered a child, or have become an approved foster or kinship carer in the last 12 months.

What is an approved foster or kinship carer?

  • Some-one who has applied to Social Services to be a foster career and has a letter advising them their application has been approved.
  • Someone who has a written agreement with Social Services to care for a child to whom they are related.

A child or qualifying young person in these circumstances is: a fostered child or young person boarded out with the claimant or partner; or placed for adoption or custodianship with the claimant or partner. Once a child has been adopted they become a dependent child in the household and treated in the normal way for the purposes of counting the number of bedrooms required.

Foster carers or kinship carers receive an allowance for looking after the children placed with them, this allowance is not counted as income for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction, however the "payslips" may be requested by the benefit section in order to verify placements within the last 52 weeks.

For example:
A couple with 1 child who rent a 3 bedroom house and are approved foster carers. At present, they are not caring for any foster children but they have done so in the last 12 months. Before these changes were introduced this family would be considered to need 2 rooms.. Now that this change has been made the family will be considered to need 3 bedrooms because 1 room is allowed for approved foster carers who have had a child placed with them in the last 12 months.

The couple would be require to provide confirmation at regular intervals of their status as approved foster or kinship carers and the dates on which a child, or children had been placed with them within the last 52 weeks.

Further information - Armed Forces

From 1 April 2013 - Armed Forces Personnel who continue to live with their parents will be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations. This means that Social Sector Size Criteria and Local Housing Allowance rules on number of bedrooms will not be applied to the room normally occupied by them while they are away - so long as they intend to return home. In addition Housing Benefit recipients will not be subject to a non-dependant deduction whilst the armed forces personnel in their household are on operations, i.e. the amount that those who are working are expected to contribute to the household expenses. A deduction will apply for Council Tax Reduction (Council Tax Benefit replacement scheme).

Who does this affect?

The person in the armed forces must be the son, daughter, stepson or step daughter of the Housing Benefit claimant or partner. They must be:

  • in the armed forces presently absent from home on operations.
  • a member of the claimant's household before he or she became a member of the armed forces
  • Usually lives at claimant's home when not away on operations.
  • Intends to return to occupy the dwelling as their home when they return from operations

What is a member of the armed forces?

  • Royal Navy; Royal Marines; Regular Army; Royal Air force
  • Royal Fleet Reserve; Royal Navy Reserve; Royal Marines Reserve; Army Reserve; Territorial Army; Royal Airforce Reserve; Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

How does this work:

There will be a non -dependant deduction whilst the member of the armed forces is at home. This will be based in the amount they earn. The claimant may be asked to provide the persons payslips.

There will not be any Non -dep deductions in Housing Benefit while the member of the armed forces in on operations.

When the non-dep moves in or out (on operations) the benefit claimant must report this to the benefit section as a change in circumstances.

What does "operations" mean:

On "operations" - does not necessarily mean away from the UK, just away from their usual home. For example: that would cover RAF personnel with immediate response duties who will be on a base away from home for several months, or would have covered members of the armed forces deployed to assist with the Olympics. It will cover someone who is involved in operations that require them to be away from their home but it may also cover pre-deployment training and post operation leave (which is described as "normalisation")

For example:
A single woman rents a 2 bedroom flat; her daughter is a member of the Armed Forces who continues to live with her mother when not on operations. The household will be deemed to need 2 bedrooms.

In this case the non-dependant deduction from Housing Benefit would only apply during the periods the daughter was at home and not away on operations: this lady would have to tell the Benefit section when her daughter is away from home on active service and also when she returns.

The benefit section may ask this customer to provide her daughters payslips and other documents to ensure the correct non-dependent deductions were in place for the correct periods.

Further information - Disabled child/ren.

Severely Disabled Children will be allowed 1 bedroom to themselves if they are unable to share with a sibling because of their severe disabilities. The Council must verify the reasons for this and may request medical evidence; many children are likely to be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their medical condition.

In addition, Local Authorities must consider not only the nature and severity of the disability, but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and how this may cause disturbance to the sleep of the child who would otherwise be required to share the bedroom.

For Example:
A couple rents a 4 bedroom house and have 2 daughters aged 6 and 10; their 6 year old is severely disabled. The Council is satisfied that the children are unable to share a bedroom because the attention required during the night by the disabled child disrupts the sleep of her 10 year old sister to a significant extent. This household will now be considered to need 3 bedrooms, not 2.

Related Information

Contact Details

 

Revenues Services - Benefits

Carruthers House
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2HP

Tel: 030 33 33 3006
Fax: 01387 260326

Financial Inclusion and Assessment Team

Carruthers House
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2HP

Tel: 030 33 33 3008
Email this contact

External Links

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street
Dumfries
DG1 2DD

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