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Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Section 123: Backdating of benefits where person recorded as refugee

351.This section re-casts the social security backdating scheme for paying income support benefits, housing benefit and council tax benefit to those who are subsequently awarded refugee status, for any period of benefit exclusion whilst their asylum application was being determined. The new backdating arrangements will take into account the new support scheme for asylum seekers introduced by the Act.

352.Subsections (1) and (2) provide for a backdating scheme to apply to people awarded refugee status who were previously excluded from social security benefits by section 115, provided they claim within a specified period.

353.Subsections (3) to (6) make the provision needed for housing benefit and council tax benefits, which are administered by local authorities. Where the refugee has lived in more than one local authority area only one local authority will deal with any claim for backdated housing benefit and council tax benefit, and provision is made for the other local authority to supply information to the determining authority.

354.Subsections (7) and (8) provide that where a person or dependant of the claimant receives Home Office support, regulations may make provision for the determination of the value of the Home Office support package, and for the value of that support package, to be offset against the backdated payment of any benefit. The form of that package will vary according to the nature of the make-up of the accommodation provided and the arrangements with the provider. The assessment of the various packages will be based on the value to the asylum seeker of the most readily measurable package – that made up of accommodation, vouchers and cash.

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