Exempt accommodation shenanigans

Hi there hope everybody is still well and not going too stir crazy!

I have a client who is on UC. When he moved into his accommodation it was not classified as exempt accommodation. UC were covering his housing costs.

However in August last year the Local Authority reclassified the accommodation as exempt. Client has continued to get UC for his housing costs.

He is completely stuck as both the benefit cap and LHA are affecting him and because his rent is being paid direct to his landlord these cuts come out of the money that would normally be paid to him and after deductions for a fine and advance payment he is receiving literally 0 UC despite having no other income.

I know that normally exempt accommodation should be covered by HB. But what should have happened in the current situation where the address has not changed but its ‘classification’ has? Should the housing costs element continue? If it does continue the benefit cap/LHA should not apply? Or has this been overpaid since August? Might this be one of the few situations where a UC o/p is not recoverable (I dimly remember there being an exemption where an o/p has arisen because of an error on the part of a landlord)?

Let me know if further detail is required. I do remember there being a briefing that helped explain things but this no longer seems to show up on google.


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