Having worked in social housing for some time (in different boroughs i might add) I have witnessed some shocking decisions that I have helped tenants to appeal with some success.
I have spoken to so many others who after questioning their awards simply are not prepared to go up against the system and again go through the merry go round of appealing and traipsing back and forward to give information that housing benefit have usually lost. Many also tell that reception site staff are a lot of the time unhelpful, untrained and rude. One such comment came from a former DWP worker!
The system in my eyes is in meltdown more than likely due to the thousands of new claims that are being received and no extra staff being taken on. It now takes on average 8 weeks to receive payment. Used to be 4. Please dont think I am slagging off all housing benefit staff; as in all fields of employment there is good and bad. Sadly I have found personally that the good ones dont stay too long. Dont really blame them, it is not a job I myself would choise to do.
Can I just point something out that was mentioned about people losing their homes over HB. This isnt the case. Under the new rent protocol social landlords cannot issue court proceedings when there are outstanding HB issues. I think this is spot on as would be a dirty trick to use to evict someone for no fault of their own. If anything, this tool is used as a delay tactic as i have seen so many court cases be adjourned when the tenant decides to put in a claim on the day of the hearing. It doesn't have to be a bonefide one either. If they can produce a receipt that is enough for the judge. I have seen people that i know for sure wont qualify do this. Very frustrating but they know the system.