Fighting the benefit cap: a case study

Westminster city hallJane is a single mother who lives with her 21 year old autistic son, Harry.  Although Jane is Harry’s registered carer and he is in receipt of a range of disability benefits, because the housing benefit claim is in her name, Jane is nonetheless affected by the £500 per week benefit cap.

This has seen Jane’s housing benefit reduced by over £100 per week, which has jeopardised both of their accommodation.  We assisted Jane to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), which was successful, but Westminster have made this conditional on her contributing £20 per week from Harry’s disability benefits.  We are currently helping Jane to challenge this by way of internal review, but are also looking into more permanent solutions. Continue reading

Z2K Responds to DWP’s consultation on the Discretionary Housing Payment Guidance Manual

We recently submitted a response to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) consultation on Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) Guidance. As part of our work with the NextDoor project we have assisted over 100 clients to apply for a DHP from the City of Westminster.  This gives us a unique perspective on the way in which DHPs are being used, and the decision making process that is followed by Westminster.

As the overwhelming majority of our client’s applications have been successful, we also have an insight into our client’s personal experiences of DHPs, as well as the longer term outcomes to which they have contributed.

In summary we argue that the guidance fails to provide local authorities with the information necessary to guide the proper development of their respective DHP policies. In order for DHPs to be more effective DHPs we believe that they should focus on specific outcomes and then evaluate the Scheme against how well these are being achieved.

For more information on the consultation click here and to read our response in full click here.