They become a ‘UC claimant’ from the date they make their UC claim.
The only ‘UC claimants’ who can receive HB to help them pay their rent are those where the HB is for ‘specified accommodation’ or 'temporary accommodation'.
This means that their entitlement to HB for their previous tenancy ends the day before their date of claim for UC. If they make their new claim for UC when they move into the new property and they remain unavoidably liable for the rent on their old property, then they cannot get any help towards the notice period. However, they are likely to be entitled to the two week Transition to UC Housing Costs Payment
(although this is paid directly to them and the purpose is to help them pay the rent for their new property) if they unavoidably had to move before the end of the notice period on their previous tenancy.
Entitlement to any other ‘legacy benefits’ would also cease.
In September 2018, Naseem moved from a privately-rented bedsit to a one-bed social housing flat.
Naseem was claiming Income Related ESA (which included the Work Related Activity Component), Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
Moving to a different local authority area meant that he needed to make a new claim for help towards his rent – but he could not make a new claim for HB – he had to claim UC instead.
As soon as he made his claim for UC he became a UC claimant, this meant he was no longer able to receive HB, therefore he was unable to get HB to cover the notice period on his previous flat after he moved. But as his HB was ending because he'd made a claim for UC he was entitled to the two week Transition to UC Housing Costs Payment.
The UC also replaced his IR-ESA, which was terminated the day before his UC claim was made. As he moved off ESA onto UC and he had not been found fit for work, his UC award should have included the LCW Element from the start of his claim.
Separately to claiming UC, he had to make a new claim for Council Tax Support.
What if a payment of HB was paid after the claimant had made a claim for UC?
Where there is an 'overlapping' payment of HB ie there is a period where an HB payment overlaps with a Housing Costs Element in a UC award for the same property - then the amount of HB 'overpaid' is treated as unearned income for the claimants UC award. This then reduces their UC award by the total amount of the 'overpaid' HB in the relevant Monthly Assessment Period.
The theory is that the claimant has received this money themselves and therefore treating it as unearned income will not cause them any hardship.
However, where the HB was being paid directly to their former landlord - unless the 'overpaid' HB has put their previous tenancy in credit - it will be very difficult for the claimant to request that the amount of the 'overpaid' HB is refunded to them - this is particularly true if the HB that was paid is covering a notice period ie the claimant was liable for rent to their former landlord for the period the HB covered.