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warned of benefit loophole
May 15, 2003
- Pensioners whose homes are owned by housing associations have been
warned that they could see their benefits cut because of a legal loophole.
The claim was made by the professional organisation Chartered Institute of
Housing in Scotland (CIH).
said that pensioners who stay in the family home after their children have
moved out may be hit by an anomaly in the way benefits are assessed.
situation could affect elderly tenants involved in recent high-profile
stock transfers in Glasgow, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.
loophole means that benefits claims from pensioners living in housing
association properties are weighed up differently to those staying in
local authority tenants are assessed for benefit entitlement, the
Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) does not take into account the size
of their house.
means that pensioners still living in the homes where they raised their
children do not receive less cash because their houses are larger than
they reasonably require.
CIH said that pensioners in the same situation whose homes have been
transferred to independent landlords could find their eligibility for full
benefits being questioned.
director in Scotland, Alan Ferguson, said he has written to the DWP and
Scottish Executive in a bid to secure a change in the law.
housing benefit regulations are very technical and rather bureaucratic but
their effects can be very real and impact heavily on individuals," he
appears that when amendments were made to the regulations that should
cover the whole of the UK, Scotland was unfortunately overlooked.
it may only be an oversight the consequence could be devastating for
thousands of pensioners in Scotland."
DWP has pledged to examine the situation and insisted it was
"unlikely" that any pensioners would lose their benefits as a
homes owned by Scottish local authorities have been transferred to
independent landlords since regulations were changed in October 2002.