To think that making the benefits system instant would help alleviate poverty?

(223 Posts)
AndHarry Wed 30-Oct-13 11:54:49

Hands up, I have no experience of how the system works but as I've been reading the news and various threads on here, the same thing crops up again and again: JSA, housing and other benefit claims take so long to process that people are left destitute and once they are approved it takes so long to make changes that it's often not worth taking casual jobs.

So with the universal credit why can't job centres process claims electronically during appointments with claimants, with money paid using the 3 day payment system?

Is that totally naive?

Mumofalittlegirl Wed 30-Oct-13 12:56:11

Very. First they need to clear their backlog before they can work on a incoming basis.

Also landlords need to be more understanding, sadly most arent

KittyLilith Wed 30-Oct-13 12:57:41

YANBU. I don't understand why the rules for eligibility can't be programmed in so that when your information is entered it gives an instant yes or no. Why does it take weeks after that to decide?

AndHarry Wed 30-Oct-13 13:17:44

That's what I was wondering Kitty. The system seems archaic and unfit for purpose.

samandi Wed 30-Oct-13 13:21:24

YANBU. I don't understand why it all takes so long.

Also landlords need to be more understanding, sadly most arent

Many landlords have mortgages to pay. If they can't make the payments on their mortgage because they aren't getting any rent in they could lose the house. Tenants need to understand that sometimes too!

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:24:35

YANBU. I have no experience of the benefit system either, but I would wonder whether they have to check details or something before they give the money out. Once claims have been approved though, I can't see any valid reason why it has to take so long with the technology we have available.

Unbelievable that something totally unrelated has turned into landlord bashing so quickly!

WearingAnUmbrellaHat Wed 30-Oct-13 13:26:22

what I don't understand is why so many LL don't want people on HB. Back in my student days when I was on full HB it was really hard to find somewhere for me and DS. At least if you are on HB, you have the money to pay.

I know why LL won't take DSS <shows age>. Because their mortgage companies and insurance companies won't let them. Because the stats bear out that there is an issue. Very basically, more damage, more missed payments (not claimants fault a lot of the time), more wear and tear on the place because people are at home, not at work.

Benefits should be instant.

catgirl1976fucker Wed 30-Oct-13 13:30:42

I imagine the fact that Universal Credit goes straight the the claimant will now make Landlords even less willing to let to people on HB sad

If it went straight to them they had some sort of guarantee of getting it. I think this will cause terrible problems for people trying to rent.

YANBU OP. Surely in this day and age where Wonga can give someone a hideous, ruinous loan within 15 minutes the benefits agency should be able to sort their shit out.

samandi Wed 30-Oct-13 13:31:02

WearingAnUmbrellaHat - perhaps because the system does take so long/is unreliable to begin with. But once you're on the system it shouldn't be a problem. I certainly had less of a problem paying rent when on HB compared to when earning minimum wage.

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:31:21

HB claimants are the biggest group to default on rent and damage property according to statistics that mortgage companies and insurance companies use, which is why many landlords cannot accept them.

Claimants may be given the money to pay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will. If payments went directly to landlords, it might be a different story.

samandi Wed 30-Oct-13 13:32:11

MrsTerryPratchett - good point!

If you are a LL and you have to breathe down your tenants neck because HB is late and you cannot make your mortgage payment, then sell up.

Being a LL is a business and should be treated as such. If there is no contingency then a business would go under. It is widely known that HB takes at least 6-8 weeks to process, if you cannot cover that period you can't afford the BTL property. I have no sympathy for a LL who has overstretched themselves in order to have a property paid for by the state.

As for the benefit system, it is archaic and administered (mostly) by jobsworths who do not connect their tardiness and inability to complete paperwork in a timely fashion, to a familys ability to eat.

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:40:09

Or wannabe, if you are a landlord that cannot wait for late HB payments, then you could just take tenants who can pay their rent from their wage, which usually doesn't take 6-8 weeks.

And not all LLs are buy to let, but they still don't think that HB tenants are worth the risk, because they are more likely to default.

If you don't like that, then blame HB claimants, not LLs who are just trying to make wise financial decisions.

Where I live there is still the option for rent to be paid directly to LLs. Which is good. Because most experienced LLs know they will have a waiting period at the start but will then get their money.

Its the inexperienced ones (I have suffered two) who would sooner see a family homeless than do their research.

Elfhame Wed 30-Oct-13 13:51:01

I think the no HB rule should be illegal, as it is punishing all claimants for the behaviour of a few. Discrimination on the basis of being on a low income.

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:51:57

HB being paid direct to LLs solves one problem, but some LLs have had to then deal with another, where they have been held liable for paying it back when a tenant has falsely claimed.

Can't say I fancy that much either tbh.

Its not a wise financial decision to take on a property if you cannot cover the mortgage for a while. What if you cannot find tenants? Or your perfect professional suddenly loses their job?

dovaffanculo Wed 30-Oct-13 13:57:11

Yes it should be instant. But I doubt very much that it will ever come close.

The main reason is that there is such a backlog of claims that are in progress and a lack of staff dealing with those that inevitably new claims are facing a 4/5/6 week wait just for it to be looked at never mind decided upon.

Afaik LLs are never liable here. Always the tenant, through future HB payments, other benefits or a payment card that is used at paypoint machines.

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 14:00:12

Its not a wise financial decision to take on a property if you cannot cover the mortgage for a while. What if you cannot find tenants?

Absolutely, LLs do have to make sure they can cover costs if their rent doesn't get paid or their property gets damaged. But it makes sense to minimise the risk of that happening as far as reasonably possible doesn't it?

Yes of course.

That could be done on a case by case basis though, as it is with people who don't claim HB, because I am sure there are a large number of them who don't pay or damage property too. Not by putting a blanket ban on a whole section of the community.

Strumpetron Wed 30-Oct-13 14:07:09

Claimants may be given the money to pay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will. If payments went directly to landlords, it might be a different story

Feel sorry for the landlords in this situation but people simply must get to grips with having to be responsible for their own finances. Personally for me handling my own money gave me a real sense of the actual value of it!

Are HB claimants really the only tenants who don't pay? Or is that notion basically using a benefit to make a character judgement?

So if I said I wouldn't let a house to any plumbers because statistics (hypothetically) say that 35% of plumbers have defaulted on their rent, would that be ok? No it wouldn't. It would be discrimination.

SybilRamkin Wed 30-Oct-13 14:16:07

Of course it would be nice if benefits could be instant, but in reality that's impossible. The expense would be enormous, data-sharing laws prohibit instant cross-government checks, we'd literally need a constant 'Big Brother is watching you' culture to manage it - how can the government force a previous employer to provide information on why the claimant left their previous employment instantly, for example?

Lovely idea, but impractical.

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