CIH Scotland Training: Reducing rent arrears by maximising housing benefit entitlement and minimising problems
In the current climate of wholesale changes to tenants social security benefits, it’s not surprising income management and welfare benefits staff, will feel impeded and frustrated in their attempts to maximise rental income, whilst, at the same time, minimising the problems for tenants, most of whom remain anxious to meet their rent liabilities.
Social landlords are under increasing pressures and need to act swiftly and positively to protect their tenants and their “life-blood” - rental income!
This needs to start at the pre-tenancy stage and has to be maintained throughout, as Housing Benefit nowadays is fraught with payment suspensions, cancellations and overpayments. Oftentimes, the problem can be tackled successfully, but staff need to act quickly as time limits apply in most cases.
This course will illustrate, by use of case examples, and group exercises, a number of the areas of Housing Benefit administration which frequently are misunderstood and sometimes misapplied by staff administering the scheme, creating in turn unnecessary delays in processing, increased exchanges of letters/telephone calls, punitive overpayment recoveries, leading to unnecessary gaps in tenants’ entitlement and rent arrears.
Advocating on behalf of tenants can sometimes bring housing association staff into direct conflict with those charged with administering this complex and ever changing Housing Benefit scheme. This course also explain how claimants, and their representatives, can best set about questioning and, if need be, challenging decisions through correspondence and telephone contact, and if this fails, make representation to First-tier Tribunals and public sector Ombudsman.
At the end of this course you will better understand:
Who should attend
Housing association staff and those involved with advice agencies who need some level of knowledge of housing benefit to ensure they can help tenants maximise their entitlement to Housing Benefit and in so doing reduce the potential for rent arrears accruing.
Bill Irvine was head of benefits, revenues and advice services at one of the UK’s largest councils; acted as local government advisor to the Housing Benefit Standing Committee, Westminster; acted as a welfare rights advocate; tutored on Housing Benefit/rent arrears issues, on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He currently operates UC & HB Advice & Advocacy acting as representative of tenants, private landlords and housing associations in their respective Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance negotiations with councils and, rather uniquely, represents them in disputes before First and Upper-tier Tribunals. He also writes regular articles on Universal Credit/Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance related topics and responds to landlord’s queries and complaints via various web-based forums, including his own website. Bill was one of the principal witnesses at the DWP Select Committee, Westminster hearings, relating to Local Housing Allowance in January 2010, where some of his recommendations were adopted as “good practice” in subsequently produced DWP Guidance.
Dates & Locations
30 September 2015, Glasgow
Standard Price = £255 + VAT
Contributing Org = £205 + VAT
CIH Member = £230.00 + VAT
To book your place today, or for more information, visit our website.