Adverse Inference

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    I’ve just had a query from an assessment team as follows:

    1. if rent proof had been ICL’d(written) for & we had no reply, should we still assess the CTB?

    2. if household information was ICL’d(written) for on a new claim & not replied to (eg. Child Benefit proof or non-dep income) should we just make an adverse inference in their specific areas (use max non-dep deduction or don’t include the child in the household) or decide that they do not satisfy the conditions of entitlement & DNQ the whole claim?

    I think that in the first scenario we ought to pay CTB as that benefit has been fully evidenced, we may need to do a check that the claimant is still resident though.

    Bit stuck on the second question though – we often make the decision to take the max non-dep deduction when we do not get sufficient evidence of a non-deps income but we have reason to believe they are working so this would not be unusual. I’ve not come across the child benefit scenario though – or any scenario where failure to provide info would lead to a potential decrease in HB/CTB – as opposed to leading us to make a decision to claimant would not qualify at all.

    Any thoughts?



    [size=9:21d2afed04]What’s “ICLd”?[/size:21d2afed04]


    oops – sorry, incomplete claim letter – writing for further information, comes from way back when we used CMG. Old habits and all that.

    Kevin D

    1) definitely assess & award CTB.

    2) depends on the wording / questions / answers on your claim form about the non-deps.

    If there is a question about working less than 16 hours, has that been answered?

    If you have CLEAR info that the non-dep is not working 16+ hours, I think you have enough info to make a decision. Otherwise, you have two choices:

    a) insufficient evidence – nil entitlement on that ground alone, or

    b) draw an inference about the non-dep’s circs.



    Thanks for clarifying Kevin

    I agree with you on the examples you given, do you have an opinion of what to do were a child declared on the form, we wrote for proof of child benefit, but it was not forthcoming.

    The inference we would make in this case would be that either the child does not exist or that the claimant or partner do not receice child benefit for them. Either case would mean that the child would not be taken into account in the benefit calculation. In this case would you:

    1. Still assess the claim using the specific inference above, ie without the child, which may mean the claim is still payable. or;

    2. Disallow the claim completely based on lack of provision of info despite the fact the all the other elements of the claim have been fully evidenced?

    Thanks again


    With you on question 1 – if all that you needed was rent proof there would be no need to hold up an award of CTB.

    Question 2 If you ask for CHB proof for deps and don’t get it I would include this as income and include the child in question as part of the household. If you ask for non – dep’s income then I would be inclined to whack in the highest deduction where it likely that the claimant is working. If the evidence suggests that the non – dep isn’t working then I would be inclined to implement the non – working deduction. Either way they’re likely to scream!

    Hope this helps.

    Started before Kevin’s post and finished afterwards!

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