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Neutral Citation Number:
Reported Number: R(IS)10/93
File Number: CIS 375 1992
Judge/Commissioner: V.G.H. Hallett
Date Of Decision: 17/11/1992
Date Added: 28/06/2002
Main Category: Income support and state pension credit
Main Subcategory: deductions
Secondary Category:
Secondary Subcategory:
Notes: Housing costs - home larger than required by claimant and his family - whether inability to sell the home and a consequent inability to buy an alternative home is relevant to the “availability” of suitable alternative accommodation The claimant, a married man with two dependant children, bought his house for £175,000 in 1988 with the assistance of a mortgage of £65,000. Income support was awarded from 4 October 1990 and on 16 July 1991 the adjudication officer decided that the claimant’s housing costs would be nil from 4 October 1991 because: (1) the home was larger than is required by the claimant and his family; and (2) it is reasonable to expect the claimant and his family to obtain alternative accommodation; (3) the housing costs are regarded as excessive. The claimant appealed to a social security appeal tribunal which allowed the appeal. The tribunal’s reasons for allowing the appeal were: “although there are homes for sale in his area, they are not in practical terms available to the claimant since, despite all his best efforts, he cannot sell his home, and therefore he does not have the resources to purchase a new home.” The tribunal decided that the claimant’s inability to sell his home was a “relevant factor” under paragraph 10(7) of Schedule 3 to the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987. They further decided that the Department may review the decision at a later date when there is an upturn in the housing market. The adjudication officer appealed to a social security Commissioner. Held that: 1. the inability of the claimant to obtain suitable accommodation which is on offer is a relevant factor. That factor is subjective because it must include consideration of the personal circumstances of the claimant and his family (para. 12); 2. the question of whether it is not reasonable to expect the claimant and his family to seek alternative cheaper accommodation, having regard to the “relevant factors” is just as much a question of fact as the question of reasonableness. In so concluding the Commissioner confirmed the principle, set out in R(SB) 8/88, that the decisions of social security appeal tribunals on questions of fact should not be disturbed unless there is some demonstrable error of law (para. 14).
Decision(s) to Download: IS10_93.doc IS10_93.doc