Reply To: When change of circumstances take effect


Right then – ready for the next instalment? Here is the latest reply from the Adelphi and……err…ummmm…the next missive from me…


Question 1. Sorry if I did not make this clear. The meaning of “timeously” is exactly the same for Pension Credit as it is for HB/CTB. The Pension Credit rules are contained in the Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999, SI 1999/991. They reflect those of SI 2001/1002.

Question 2. The regs were drafted by lawyers and we (not being trained lawyers) must rely on them to provide what is, in their opinion, legislation that reflects the policy. If problems appear we can ask them to reconsider, but the final decision will be theirs.

Question 3 – What needs to be born in mind here is that while the AIF and savings credit may have a direct connection in Pension Credit they are separate items as far as the HB/CTB calculation is concerned. So each must be treated separately. Changes to the savings credit must be considered under 68B because that regulation has been inserted specifically to deal with changes to HB because pension credit is payable. Changes to the AIF are changes to income. Therefore, they are not appropriate to 68B and must be dealt with using reg 68.

The answer to your example is that the decrease to savings credit would be dealt with under 68B(4) and the increase in the AIF would be dealt with under 68(1). 68B(3) could not apply as the decrease in the savings credit has not resulted in a decrease to HB. If all this happened in the past the overpayment provisions would still apply.”

“Thank you for your reply and your patience. I’m afraid that I can’t put this one to rest just yet. You answer appears to be unambiguous – the AIF is totally separate from the change to the PC award itself when considering whether HB/CTB has gone up or down. The problem is that 68B(3) and 68B(4) refer to situations where HB “is increased” or “was reduced”. In other words – the increase or decrease really did happen. But you appear to be saying that we need to imagine an increase or decrease that is not really there because of the impact of the change in the AIF under reg 68. Is this a correct interpretation?

It is interesting that Regs 68B(5) and 68B(6) have now been amended so that the words “has resulted” have been changed to “would result”. I assume these changes were made to deal better with notifications of future changes – but the failure to make similar changes to 68B(3) and 68B(4) makes this imagining of increases or decreases seriously close to being outside of the law.

I would also like you to clarify how we will work out the effective date of change in HB/CTB as a result of a change in the AIF. By using Reg 68 an HB/CTB award will be amended from the Monday after the change in the AIF (or Monday of the same benefit week if 68(4) applies). My question is – how will we know what date the AIF changed? If someone’s income increased in January but they notified the Pension Service in July will the January date be on the notification we receive from the Pension Service?

Many thanks again for all your help.”