Advance Claims

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    Darren Broughton


    I have a query regarding Advance Claims and how they are processed and the resulting impact on BVPIs.

    Reg83(10) allows us to treat a claim as made in the previous week in the situation where no entitlement exists but is likely to exist within 13 weeks (on the proviso that no change in circumstances will occur during this period). I’m assuming that the “change in circumstances” being referred to means one that we weren’t aware of when the claimant made his claim.

    So, an example of where this Reg would apply would be as follows –

    e.g. A customer makes a claim and he is currently receiving pay in lieu of redundancy. The pay in lieu is too high for him to qualify for HB/CTB, but he says that this will end in one month and he will start to receive JSAC.

    Reg 83(10) reads –

    [i:9b7bd5703b]” (10) Where the claimant is not entitled to housing benefit in the benefit week immediately following the date of his claim but the relevant authority is of the opinion that unless there is a change of circumstances he will be entitled to housing benefit for a period beginning not later than the thirteenth benefit week following the date on which the claim is made, the relevant authority may treat the claim as made on a date in the benefit week immediately preceding the first benefit week of that period of entitlement and award benefit accordingly.”[/i:9b7bd5703b]

    For us to be sure that the claimant doesn’t qualify for HB/CTB during the period where he is receiving pay in lieu, would we have to process the claim on the benefit system to generate a decision?

    Or, would we just do a trial calculation to see whether he qualifies from the start?

    If we do the former, then once we process the claim, that claim ceases to exist. If it generates no entitlement to HB/CTB, then how do we use the claim as an “advance claim”?

    Basically, I need to know what figures to report for the BVPI on this type of claim. When does the clock start “ticking” and when does it stop? I’ve looked in the MIS guide and it states that –

    [i:9b7bd5703b]”the date the clock starts ticking for the PI will be the Treat As Made date determined by the LA under those regulations. If the claim is properly decided on or before the Treat As Made date, the time taken to process the claim for the purposes of the PI will be one day. However, if the claim is not decided on or before the Treat As Made date, the clock will continue to tick until the date a decision is made”[/i:9b7bd5703b]

    My problem is that I would have thought that for Reg 83(10) to work, you need to know at the start of the claim that the claimant won’t qualify, but will qualify at some time in the following 13 weeks. In order to know that they don’t qualify at the start, surely you’d need to process the claim and make a decision on it to establish no entitlement. If we do this then we would generate a BVPI for this “nil-entitlement” claim, but how would we then also use this claim as an advance claim?

    Any ideas?

    Anthony Sandys

    As no-one else has replied, I’ll have a go.

    Personally, I think it would depend on whether the person specifically stated whether they wanted it treated as an advance claim. So in your example if they said that they only want to claim from the date of JSA, I would treat it as an advance claim and wouldn’t worry about the pay in lieu.

    However, in the absence of that I would treat the claim as being made on the date it was received. If the JSA entitlement was known at the time the claim is processed then I’d do it all in one go and count it as one claim from the date it was made. If the JSA entitlement is reported after the claim is decided as unsuccessful, then a new claim should be made.

    Don’t know if that is right, but hey what do I know.

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