The client was living in private rented accommodation and had been in receipt of Rent Supplement for over two years. In April 2015, he was assessed by the local authority and he was deemed eligible for the new form of social housing support, the housing assistance payment (HAP). However, his landlord advised him that he would not participate in the HAP scheme and the client was unable to find alternative accommodation.
As he could not transition to the HAP payment, the local authority informed the Department of Social Protection that he was not engaging with them under the HAP scheme. His rent supplement was suspended by the DSP on the grounds that the Department was advised by the local authority that he had not engaged with them under the HAP scheme.
CLM Limerick’s input
The client attended one of our free legal advice clinics and sought assistance. He outlined his scenario to the solicitor; at this point his rent supplement had been suspended and he was unable to pay his rent. As a result, he had received a notice of termination from the landlord and he was at imminent risk of homelessness.
CLM sought a copy of the client’s file from the Department of Social Protection and reviewed the documentation. Thereafter, CLM lodged an appeal of the decision to suspend the Rent Supplement payment to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. CLM also advocated on his behalf to the local authority and outlined the attempts he had made to obtain alternative accommodation.
As a result of this he was reclassified as engaging with the HAP scheme. The DSP were duly notified and his Rent Supplement Payment was reinstated. The Social Welfare Appeal was allowed by an Appeals Officer in October 2015 and he was awarded arrears of rent supplement payment.
As a result of the appeal lodged by CLM Limerick, the client had his rent supplement reinstated and enabled him to pay the rent arrears and afforded him the time to find alternative accommodation under the HAP scheme.