Reply To: Non Dep deductions.


The fact that no Regs have appeared yet (unless I’m a few days behind the game) suggests that the DWP is giving some thought to this and trying to get the drafting right.

As things stand, if the references to “anniversary date” are replaced with some form of words involving “26 weeks”, but there are no further structural changes to the existing pensioner Regs, then the position will be this as I read it:

– the 26-week rule will apply to the arrival in the household of a non-dep who wasn’t previously there (“takes up residence” is what the reg says)
– the 26-week rule will apply to an increase in a non-dep’s income
– the 26-week rule will NOT apply if the non-dep undergoes some change of status without changing his/her income (e.g. working 17-year-old turns 18) that smiley is supposed to be an 8
– the 26-week rule will NOT apply if the claimant loses exemption from non-dependant deductions (stops getting DLA care etc)
– the scope ofthe 26-week rule will NOT be confined to the amount of the non-dependant deduction: any effect whatsoever of the change of circumstance will be delayed for 26 weeks (like losing the SDP)
– but you could argue that a new RO valuation is required in size restriction cases immediately when a non-dep moves in, because a change of circumstance for RO purposes is separately defined and does not impact directly on HB. The argument would be that the change of circs for Reg 68 purposes is the new maximum rent, not the new household member.

It seems to me that the problem with the current drafting of the anniversary date rules is the vagueness of the new Reg 68(10). It says that the change of circumstance will take effect from the anniversary date, but it doesn’t clearly define what the change of circumstance is. In particular, Reg 68(9)(b)(ii) talks about an income increase leading to a higher non-de deduction, but 68(9)(b)(i) only talks about the non-dep’s arrival in the household and does not confine the context to non-dep deductions.

The 26-week Regs need to clarify this.