Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Computer Glitch
During 2020 / early 2021 some claimants entitled to an extra bedroom in the circumstances outlined above were being paid too much in their UC housing costs, due to a glitch with the Universal Credit computer system.

Where a social housing claimant who had two 'spare' rooms under the basic Bedroom Tax rules was granted an extra bedroom on medical grounds, an error in the UC system meant that they couldn't be allocated the extra bedroom. So the DWP decided to exclude them for the Bedroom tax altogether, even though there was still one 'spare' bedroom.

We understand that in January 2021 the system was fixed for new claimants - but would only pick up on existing claimants when they declare a change of circumstances. So there may well be some claimants still affected by this.

When they do declare a change in circumstances, the amount of their Housing Costs Element will be reassessed and will be lower - because the Bedroom Tax will then be correctly applied.

But they will have been overpaid. The DWP have indicated that they will not be recovering the overpayment. If any recovery action is taken for overpayments caused by this computer glitch and which could not have been prevented by the claimant, claimants could make a complaint and request that the DWP use their discretion not to recover it.

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