Housing benefit delays - CAB asks for meeting
WESTON residents are being pushed to the brink of homelessness because their housing benefits are not being paid on time. Weston's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has been coming to the aid of a number of people who have been served notice on their houses be
WESTON residents are being pushed to the brink of homelessness because their housing benefits are not being paid on time.Weston's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has been coming to the aid of a number of people who have been served notice on their houses because their benefits have not reached their landlords in time.The CAB says people who have just moved into new properties and are waiting for their benefit forms to be processed are legally entitled to interim payments from Liberata, which administers council tax and housing benefit on behalf of the council, but claims the company has not been honouring this.Sarah Lee-Roth, from Weston's CAB, said: "Anyone moving into accommodation and has to make a new housing benefit claim can ask for interim payments. There are some delays with housing benefit forms being processed and Liberata is supposed to provide interim payments to help out if benefits haven't been paid within 14 days."We were informed Liberata wasn't doing interim payments. The last interim payment I remember being made was six years ago. "We meet a lot of people in county court at possession hearings who haven't been given payments and haven't known where to get advice. "Some landlords aren't willing to wait that long for housing benefit and we do see people being served notice on their flats. That's where interim payments could help."It's scary for people and if anyone is in that position they can come to us and we can try and sort that out."The CAB has written to Liberata and set up a meeting to discuss the issue.A Liberata spokesman said: "Housing benefit is a means tested benefit and the amount paid is based on the customer's circumstances. No payment can be made until sufficient information has been received on which to make a decision."If all information has been received but no assessment made by the rent service then an interim rent payment is made. This will be set at a level which ensures that the claimant is not paid more than their entitlement will be."If a customer has a query with their claim, they should contact the council to see if an interim payment without a rent officer decision can be made.