Atlas and Suspension in Tax Credit cases

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    Anonymous
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    Whilst testing our release for the installation of ATLAS we identified a work type for Tax Credit Payment Suspension – we use CIVICA. This work type default has been set to suspend the HB/CTB claim unless the benefit officer chooses to override this. We can see this will cause confusion to our customers and result in increased calls and visits to the office. We queried this with the software supplier and the response was –

    “A suspension of payment of New Tax Credit to a claimant is made by HMRC when there are queries regarding the NTC claim and eligiblity. If a strict interpretation is made of this decision in relation to the HB/CTB claim there is an argument that as NTC is no longer in payment the LA should reassess the claim with a nil NTC income. However it was agreed at the ATLAS Technical Sub-group meeting that the reasons for a suspension of NTC may also affect the HB/CTB claim. Therefore the consensus of opinion was for the default action to be a claim suspension so the LA can look into the case and negate any potential local authority error from arising.”

    We are concerned that the customer is not only losing their TC income, they will also lose their HB/CTB until the situation is sorted. This could lead to hardship and eviction. However if we don’t suspend the claim, and there is an overpayment, will the DWP penalise us from the date they advised us Tax Credit was suspended?

    Has anyone else had any thoughts on this – many thanks.

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