Any Pension Credit regs experts? Query re sold home…..

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  • #20256
    Anonymous
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    We have a HB/CTB claim here where the claimant sold her home in August 2003, and received around £120000 in proceeds. She moved into rented accomodation with her son and advised us that she was looking for a property to buy, so we disregarded the capital for the initial 26 weeks.

    In March 04 she made a claim for Guarantee Credit and was awarded this.

    I recenctly picked up the claim and saw the issue of her capital, and was of the opinion that it is no longer reasonable to continue disregarding the capital from the sale of her home for HB/CTB (she had not found anywhere and other than providing an old letter from an estate agents registering with them had nothing to suggest she was actively looking for somewhere to buy). Because she’s on GC, we have to keep disregarding, so I faxed the info to the Pension Service just to make sure they were aware of the capital.

    I’ve just followed my fax up with a phone call and the person I spoke to said they are aware of her capital but they’re not going to review her claim again until September 2009 because that’s when the AIP ends. I queried whether the Pension Credit regs allow the capital to be disregarded for such a long period and she said that when someone sets the AIP they can’t review it before then unless the claimant notifies them of a change.

    Is this not an issue that they should look at sooner (especially as they were aware of it when the claim was made)? Do the Pension Credits regulations allow it to be disregarded for such a period, or is it similar to the HB/CTB regs (26 weeks or however longer is reasonable)?

    If this is correct, it seems like a glaring loophole! This person has been able to sell her home, state that she intends buying another property and then gets GC, full HB & Full CTB, even though she’s got a huge chunk of capital! If more people got wind of this……!

    😯

    #2525
    Anonymous
    Guest

    😯

    We have had many situations like this due to a high pensioner caseload. Even when appeals have been won on deprivation we are told that as they “deprived” themselves before the implementation of pension credit they could not have deprived themselves to get this benefit as it did not exist. Subsequently once awarded pension credit we have to pay based on their figures. My advice is don’t bother reporting it as it is ignored. All our old fraudsters are now coming out of the woodwork and claiming pension credit as they know we can do nothing about it. We are past caring and just dish out the dosh!!!! Sorry to be of no help whats so ever but roll on retirement!!

    #2526
    Anonymous
    Guest

    This one isn’t fraudulent. The claimant told the Pension Service of the capital when she made her claim so didn’t withhold or give false information.

    We’re wondering whether, in this instance, because they (the PS) knew about the capital at the time of the decision, they should either have refused GC or only allowed it for a limited time instead of paying it for 6 years. That’s why I wondered if someone knew the Pension Credit regs and how capital should be treated in the regs. It looks to us as though the decision may have been made incorrectly. If the decision is correct, then we clearly have to accept it, but I really feel that we should be sure that the correct decision was made by the Pension Service in the first place before letting the matter go.

    #2527
    Anonymous
    Guest

    This lady had the money when she claimed – she still has the money – only change is what she intends to do with it. This isn’t a change which would end an AIP (s9(4) & (5) of PC Act details changes which would)

    See also rightsnet thread for more on windfalls and reference to ministerial comment

    http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=105&topic_id=10&mesg_id=10&page=2

    Good luck to her!

    #2528
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Blimey! 😯

    Don’t suppose anyone can point us to actual PC regs can you, just to satisfy my curiousity completely!

    #2529
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Apologies for the long links but the Act is at

    http://www.hmso.gov.uk/cgi-bin/htm_hl.pl?DB=hmso-new&STEMMER=en&WORDS=pension+credit+&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=s&URL=http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2002/20016–a.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match

    S9(4) & (5) about half way down the page

    9(5) refers to circumstances prescribed by regulation 12 of the SPC Regs which can be found at

    http://www.hmso.gov.uk/cgi-bin/htm_hl.pl?DB=hmso-new&STEMMER=en&WORDS=pension+credit+&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=s&URL=http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20021792.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match

    Also available in Bonner pages 1167 and 1194 respectively.

    The ministerial quote can also be found in the commentary to s7 of the Act on page 1165.

    Happy to help!

    #2530
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Thanks!

    The only think we’re concerned about is whether the PS have made the initial determination correctly. Surely when they assessed her claim, knowing that she had the capital, they should then have only allowed a short AIP or disallowed her completely.

    The only thing we can think of is that when she claimed in March 04, even though this was already more than 26 after she sold the property, because they awarded GC from October 03 they based the determination on her circs at that time (ie as if it was made at that time).

    Looking at 9(2)(b) of that act the PS can specify a shorter period that 5 years, and there doesn’t appear to be a minimum period they should specify, so when making the award, being fully aware of her capital, surely they should have set a shorter period?!

    #2531
    Anonymous
    Guest

    s6 of the Act relates to the SoS’s duty to specify an AIP and s9(1) sets it at 5 years subject to subsections (2) to (4).

    If the SoS was satisfied that none of the exceptions applied, and clearly they were, then the 5 year AIP is a requirement of the legislation.

    regs 8/17 hb/ctb (pc) regs make payment of both benefits compulsory where the claimant is in receipt of guarantee pension credit so imo the pension service decision and their justification for the length of the AIP set need not trouble the LA.

    Leave the woman alone to enjoy what may be her final chance to live in some degree of luxury!

    #2532
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I’ve spoken to them (the PS) and they’re not sure. They’re going to look into. They believe someone has made an error in awarding such a long AIP in such circs. The PS regs seem to suggest so (it allows them to specify a shorter AIP in certain circs, AIP ends when they no longer satisfy the conditions, and the capital rules are similar to HB).

    I’m not meaning to be nasty. I’m all for people getting what they’re entitled to, but I just don’t think this person is entitled to it! If they come back and say it is correct that’s fine, as long as we’re satisfied we’ve checked properly! 🙂

    #2533
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Capital limits for PC is not similar to HB/CTB – [b:38fe3d43d8]there is no capital limit for Pension Credit[/b:38fe3d43d8]!

    None of the circumstances for ending the AIP are met and none of the grounds for restricting the AIP are founded.

    At this point I shall withdraw in frustration. 😡

    #2534
    Anonymous
    Guest

    none of the conditions for ending entitlement, but it’s not a change. It’s something the decision maker was aware of at the time of the award. The rules regarding capital from properties are similar to those of HB (see schedule V part I of the State Pension Credit Regs). As the decision maker knew this at the time of the decision, and the PC regs allow a shorter (and they don’t specify how short) AIP, I feel they should only have awarded GC for a limited period in this case.

    I’m not an expert on Pension Credit legislation, but a quick read through the regs seems to say this. They’ll get back to me anyway, so I’ll post an update when they come back.

    [quote:66062424bd=”erika”][b:66062424bd]there is no capital limit for Pension Credit[/b:66062424bd]!

    At this point I shall withdraw in frustration. :x[/quote:66062424bd]

    [b:66062424bd]I know![/b:66062424bd] I wasn’t refering to capital limits, btw, but whether or not it can be disregarded…..

    #2535
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Although it’s risking the wrath of Erika, I’d like to bounce this one back up!

    Has anyone had a similar situation?

    This claimant has now had the capital (£120,000) since August 2003 but it’s still being disregarded by the Pension Service. I had been speaking to a guy in Newcastle who was trying to find out if they had originally assessed it incorrectly in the first place, but he never got back to me and has now moved on.

    She is still renting with her son (joint tenants), getting full GC, HB & CTB but has £120,000 in the bank on top of her SRP and private pen. The PC regs do allow them to set a shorter AIP if they believe there may no longer be an entitlement and, as she had the capital at the time she went onto GC surely they should not have disregarded the amount for 5 years?! Surely they should have included it as capital from the date it became no longer reasonable to disregard it?

    According to [url]https://hbinfo.org/menu2/acts/credits/spca2002.shtml#9[/url]
    9 Duration of assessed income period
    (2) If the Secretary of State considers that the particulars of the claimant’s retirement provision as determined for the purposes of the relevant decision are not likely, after taking account of any assumed variations under subsection (3), to be typical of the claimant’s retirement provision throughout the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which that decision takes effect-

    (a) he need not specify a period under section 6(1); and

    (b) if he does so, he may specify a period shorter than 5 years (but beginning as mentioned in subsection (1)).

    This [url]https://hbinfo.org/menu2/si/si2002_1792.shtml#19[/url] states:

    19. Calculation of capital in the United Kingdom
    Capital which a claimant possesses in the United Kingdom shall be calculated –
    (a) except in a case to which paragraph (b) applies, at its current market or surrender value less –
    (i) where there would be expenses attributable to sale, 10 per cent.; and
    (ii) the amount of any encumbrance secured on it;
    (so similar to HB & CTB)

    and this [url]https://hbinfo.org/menu2/si/si2002_1792.shtml#sch5pt1[/url] prescribes when capital can be disregarded, which again is very similar to the HB/CTB regs.

    Considering the above, if she had the money when she was awarded GC, should they not have set a short AIP and then reconsidered the decision at the end of that period, allowing the capital for a further period if it was reasonable to continue disregarding it and including it as capital if it was not?

    #2536
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Basically Matthew, not if they don’t want to!
    In a few cases (we have a 70% pensioner caseload so a few of these as well) we have reported a coc based on loadsa capital to the Pension service.
    Ultimately it’s not our problem, so why fuss over it! If they want to interpret the regs in the way they seem to be in many cases, then fine.
    I know it’s not the way a lot of people in HB / CTB admin would interpret them, but that’s the way it goes.
    We probably interpret a few of the regs in a way that frustrate a lot of Welfare Rights Officers.
    I understand your frustration, but you’ve told them what you know, so it’s now up to them to decide.
    Lie back and enjoy!! 😀

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