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I think I know the answer, but I need help!

(11 Posts)
oxcat1 Fri 08-Jul-16 21:42:08

Sorry this is long and dull, but I seem to be in Catch 22. To save you reading, I could do with advice if you know anything about benefits (specifically housing), care (particularly CHC-funded), tenancies, estate agents, moving house, etc etc. I know IABU, but I am so stuck! Please don't flame me - I haven't done anything yet!

I need to move house following a traumatic year after my husband left with my best friend. I haven't really accepted it, but think a new start should help. I am also in an inappropriate house, since a fracture earlier this year left me unable to access the bathroom or bedroom which are both upstairs: I need to move.

I am dependent on 24 hour care (CHC funded) so contacted local funding to ask about moving: apparently it should take about 6-8 weeks to get a package set up in my new city, but that was just a guess. However, the equivalent body in the new city have said that they cannot start the process until I provide them with my new address. Obviously I can't do that, as I can't risk being financially responsible for two tenancies with no clear endpoint, and few properties are advertised so far in advance.

To make it more complicated, I rely totally on housing benefit (for now). I read online that in 'exceptional circumstances' they can fund two properties for up to 4 weeks - i thought that this would enable me to provide the new funding body with an address, whilst giving me a slight financial safety blanket should there be a delay in getting the new package ready, a delay beyond the start of the new tenancy.

However, I've spoken to the benefits department in both cities and they confirm that I can only apply for temporary financial assistance on two properties if I move into the new property straight away. explained that I could not move without care, and that they wouldn't start care without an address, but both benefits offices say there is no flexibility in these rules. If i needed to wait for adaptations to the new property, they could apply the exceptional circumstances rule whilst I remained in the first house, but not when it is a delay in putting care in place that restricts the move.

If i can find a tenancy beginning in the middle/end of August (a suitable tenancy for a wheelchair, and accepting benefits, so not an easy call...), I could then get my post and banking moved to the new address from as soon as the tenancy starts. This would enable me to apply for housing benefit on that new flat (I would ensure significant bodies such as DWP had the new address from ten start date of the new tenancy, mig from the sate I expected to move), but also gives the care agency what should be sufficient time to put care in place. Meanwhile, I continue to live and pay rent at my current property, until able to move to the second, and submit a claim for housing benefit on this first house under the exceptional circumstances rule.

What would you do? This plan is essentially fraud according to the housing advisers (who don't have my name!), as I am telling them I am living in one place but actually living for a short time still in my current house? However, I would paying rent on both properties, and it is for an occasion like this that such exceptional circumstances rule was invented, surely? Albeit I am waiting for 'adaptations' in the form of care provision rather than structural changes. I feel so uncomfortable and this seems so risky, but I don't know how else to move forward? It will be difficult enough to find a suitable wheelchair-accessible flat, prepared to accept benefits, but I can't try and impose an indefinite start date to the tenancy as well?

Sorry if is so long. Any advice appreciated. Essentially I am asking AIBU in considering what amounts to fraud, and given the answer is clearly 'yes', what else could I do?

ABloodyDifficultWoman Fri 08-Jul-16 22:12:41

I have absolutely no expertise in this area but I'm giving this a gentle bump in case someone does flowers

oxcat1 Fri 08-Jul-16 22:42:16

Thank you so much for both the bump and the flowers.

Certainly hadn't expected the post to be quite so long! Believe it or not, I did condense it as much as I could.... Oh dear.

CodyKing Fri 08-Jul-16 22:45:31

Have you contacted any disabled charities who may offer better advise?

Crispbutty Fri 08-Jul-16 22:48:12

Can I ask what part of the country you are in or are thinking of moving to, then I may be able to offer some links that can help from my own experience.

I moved from London to Devon. Totally reliant on housing benefit and found that the Council were very helpful here and much easier than I expected to get sorted out.

JsOtherHalf Fri 08-Jul-16 23:22:23

I know someone who moved areas whilst having chc. She ended up in a private nursing home for 6 weeks in the new area, funded by CHC. Ostensibly this was to assess her needs, but I suspect some of it was to get round the issues you have mentioned.

Have you spoken to the CHC in the new area?

missymayhemsmum Fri 08-Jul-16 23:44:43

Depending where you are moving to, try somewhere like a disabled persons housing service, home improvement agency or the papworth trust, who may be able to help. Failing that, do you have family or friends who could help you out or put you up over the transition period? Papworth Trust have an advice service and also provide accessible rented properties. Also thehouseshop.com specialise in accessible homes.
Sounds like you will need a good chunk of money behind you for deposits, moving, and maybe for care over the interim period. Any chance of extracting some from a divorce settlement?

oxcat1 Fri 08-Jul-16 23:56:35

Wow! Loads of really helpful replies - thank you!

I am moving from the Midlands to Sussex, hopefully Brighton or thereabouts. I have spoken to the housing benefits officers at both ends, and my CHC case manager at this end has been liaising with the new one, but has simply come back that they are insisting I have to have an address before they will proceed with organising the care.

Please may I ask about the friend who ended up in a nursing home: did she have to pay for her tenancy in her new house throughout that time then? I am concerned that if I get put in a home then I will not get out, as there have been whispers of that anyway, as my home care package is so expensive compared to cost of putting me in a home.

Afraid my STBeXH (or whatever the acronym is!) has no money, so no divorce settlement to count on. Neither have I any friends down there, or family who could put me up. That is part of the reason that I am moving - because I am totally isolated and alone, and I really need to build a new friendship and support circle. I am scared about the move - it is a gamble and I don't know anybody in the area yet, so can only hope there are friends out there to be made.

I have looked into various charities, and had a couple of useful threads on here before, but one problem seems to be that I have a multitude of smaller health conditions all combined, so it isn't easy to find a charity that would help me really, particularly one targeted at my condition. I will look again at the Papworth trust.

I just can't see how a rule introduce to help people in this situation can be so inflexible? I can't be the first person in receipt of care to move from one private residence to another?

Thanks again for your posts.

JsOtherHalf Sat 09-Jul-16 00:02:49

She didn't have a tenancy in the new area. She went to the care home ( bupa i think) whilst the new area found her a suitable property- which did take a while.

Get your mp involved? Headed notepaper from the House of Commons usually gets senior managers attention.

meworthit Sat 09-Jul-16 00:17:31

Sorry I have no idea at all other than suggestion of contacting a charity or CAB etc for advice/clarity.

But I'd say do what you have to do to secure what you need & damn to hell anyone dishing out any flamings!

FrankiTHS Mon 25-Jul-16 12:04:11

Hi oxcat1, my name is Franki and I actually work for TheHouseShop (another commenter mentioned our website as a possible place to look).

We have relatively limited stock of accessible properties at the moment but I would really recommend reaching out to Sallie at Branch Properties. She runs an estate agency dedicated to helping people find and buy/rent accessible homes. She is a great source of info even if you don't use her to actually find a home.

Search Branch Properties in google and I'm sure they will pop up smile

Definitely worth a look if you are still stuck and best of luck with everything!

Franki

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