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Social Security Case Law - Summer 2024

Summaries of recent cases on social security law and practice.

Ipswich Borough Council v TD & Anor [2024] UKUT 118 (AAC)

You can read the full judgment ‘here‘.


A claimant is not entitled to be passported to maximum housing benefit during assessment periods that they have a ‘nil award’ of Universal Credit.


The claimant and her partner applied for Universal Credit in October 2019; however, they became homeless in October 2020 and were placed in temporary accommodation. Due to these circumstances the claimant had to make a claim for Housing Benefit rather than having her costs met by Universal Credit.

The claimant received a maximum amount of Housing Benefit for their temporary accommodation rental costs on the basis of their Universal Credit being a ‘passporting benefit’. However, from 25 December 2019 to 24 May 2020, the claimant and her partner received ‘nil’ payments of Universal Credit for five consecutive assessment periods. Ipswich Council decided that due to the ‘nil payments’ the claimant was wrongly passported to Housing Benefit during this time period and an overpayment of £1,315.19 was recoverable.

The claimant appealed the decision and was successful at the First-Tier Tribunal who decided that there had been no overpayment as the client remained ‘on’ Universal Credit during the time she received the ‘nil payments’.

Ipswich Council was joined by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for the appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

Legal Issue

Is a claimant entitled to be passported to maximum housing benefit during assessment periods that they have a ‘nil award’ of Universal Credit?

Relevant Legislation

  • Paragraph 12 of Schedule 4 and paragraph 4 of Schedule 5 to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
  • The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
  • Part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • Part (1) and Regulation (4) (za) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992
  • Regulation 6 of the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013
  • Regulation 17 Universal Credit Regulations 2013

Relevant Case Law

  • R v Penwith DC ex parte Menear (1991) 24 HLR 115


The Upper Tribunal overturned the First-Tier Tribunal’s decision and determined that it was incorrect in its interpretation of the claimant’s eligibility for Universal Credit based on nil payments, and therefore erred in their determination that the client was entitled to maximum housing benefit during this time period.