How do we proceed

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  • #282147
    joannab
    Participant

    Good afternoon

    All opinions welcome.

    We received a LAIEF from the DWP requesting that we suspend Housing Benefit entitlement as an allegation of “Living together” had been made. Entitlement was suspended, and remained suspended for a couple of months. We then received further correspondence from the DWP to request that we terminate entitlement as they claimant had failed to contact them. It should be noted that the claimant is not in receipt of any DWP benefit.

    The claimant requested a revision of the HB decision but it was upheld. My question is what do we do now.

    The claimant has made a complaint and will appeal. The HB entitlement was not terminated in line with the legislation, however the DWP have closed the case and will not reopen.I dont think I can reinstate entitlement as an investigation was never carried out.

    Help!!

    #282162
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I think basically you have to make your own decisions on all of it. Have you actually made the decision to terminate? If not, what is he appealing?

    #282163
    nick dearnley
    Participant

    The D&A Regs are for HB (and CTB) and are nothing to do with DWP’s investigation. You can only terminate for failure to provide information if it was you, not DWP, that asked for the information, because the information request can only come from HB Reg 86 – see reg 13 D&A Regs.

    My view is DWP can only ask – not tell – you to suspend while they investigate an HB issue, and should then pass on any evidence that might revise the HB to you for a decision, because it’s not them that administers HB.

    The answer is in your last paragraph: the legislative process has not been followed and it must be corrected by reinstating HB as the termination is unlawful. Taking a case on this basis to a tribunal is asking for trouble, IMHO, as the appellant will win and you will get told off; the judge may even mention in passing that a claim for maladministration could be made by the clmt. Especially if DWP’s investigation produced no evidence that HB was wrongly awarded.

    #282176
    markg
    Participant

    Yep, Nick’s right. DWP could have asked you to consider suspending HB, on the grounds there was ‘doubt to entitlement’ , but then you would have needed to ask the claimant to do something to remedy the situation. This is where ‘joint fraud investigations’ were a good thing (do these still happen?? ) because the LA employed investigator would be able to make sure the LA adhered to the regulations. Sounds like you’ve suspended and terminated but not asked the claimant to do anything /send you any information.

    Susp letter: I have suspended your HB because DWP asked me to.
    Two months pass…..
    Termination letter: more than a calendar month has passed since I suspended your HB, because DWP asked me to, and I am now terminating your HB, again because DWP have asked me to.

    You’ve not actually asked the claimant to do anything have you, to allay your ‘doubt as to ongoing entitlement’ (and/or past period entitlement, for that matter, as its an alleged ‘Living Together’ case.

    #282186
    John Boxall
    Participant

    Nothing to stop you asking the DWP for whatever information they have but otherwise as markg has said you dont have a ny justification in the Regulations for the actions that have been taken.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by John Boxall.
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