As soon as the claimant is found guilty and convicted to serve a sentence in GB, HB is only payable if the claimant is:
- Due to return home within a total absence up to 13 weeks (including the time already spent on remand), and
- They intend to return home, and
- Have not sublet the property, and
- They have a 'live' HB claim.
Note: A prisoner can be sentenced to up to 10 months and still be back home within 13 weeks. This is because they generally only serve half of their sentence and can be released early on electronic tagging.
Will be back within 13 weeks
If you know that the claimant is likely to be back home within 13 weeks try using this Standard Letter CC11A to ask for HB to continue - however the HB Office will probably need confirmation from the prison or probation officer, and may suspend until they know that the claimant has definitely returned home.
Procedures came into force from 2nd March 2009 - outlined in A2/2009 - with HB forms for prisoners, to be used by prison staff. It is hoped these forms will keep the HB Office informed of what is going on so that they can award HB appropriately when the tenant is entitled. DWP forms "HCTB6 - Notification of Remand in Custody" and "HCTB7 - Change of status or custodial sentence" and "HCTB8 - Release from custody or change of circumstances" can be used by the prison to give dates of custody/sentence/release etc to the Local Authority. Click on the links for copies of these forms.
Will be away more than 13 weeks in total
If on sentencing the claimant is going to be away from home for more than 13 weeks in total (remand and sentence), including if they have already been away more than 13 weeks, then no HB will be paid from the Monday after the sentencing date (CH/499/2006) and this is a strict time limit (CH/1986/2009) - though any HB paid whilst on remand is safe.
The HB Office cannot regard the HB already paid out as an overpayment, because up until conviction the claimant was intending to return home and therefore met all the eligibility rules.
Note - HB can be paid for up to 4 weeks for any notice period, if the claimant terminates their tenancy - click here for more information - Standard Letter CC5.
If not entitled to HB due to the length of sentence is there someone else living in the property who could claim - a partner or someone who could be treated as liable for the rent?