AVERAGE EARNINGS

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  • #31548
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Yes that old chestnut again.

    We have been debating in Fife whether we need to change how we take account of a change in AE following a review of an award. I would welcome your feeback on legality/good practice/reasonableness.

    I will explain the change I am trying to get Fife to adopt with an example –

    [b:a5daa85781]EXAMPLE[/b:a5daa85781]
    A) Initial award based on 5 weekly payslips that fluctuate between £100 – £110 per week, average wage £105pw.

    B) Review carried out 6 months later, showing wages still fluctuate between £100 – £110, but the average is now £108pw.

    C) Additional info., the YTD figure also shows average as £108pw. there is no increase in the hourly rate and the claimant states that her standard working week (in hours) has not changed, though it is the odd additional hours work that has pushed her average earnings up.

    [b:a5daa85781]CURRENTLY[/b:a5daa85781]
    In Fife we would currently carry out a supersession/revision and calculate the overpayment either from the start of the award or from the end period the initial 5 payslips covered, resulting in an overpayment which we deem to be caused by claimant error.

    [b:a5daa85781]Here is my take on the situation -[/b:a5daa85781]
    1) There has been no change in circumstances to report i.e. her hourly rate has not changed and her employer has not asked her to work extra hours each week, only on a adhoc basis.

    2) With no change in circumstances, the claimant is not guilty of failing to report a change in circumstances.

    On this basis I believe we should consider the estimated average earnings used in the initial award to be correct, use the average earnings calculated at the Review to estimate the earnings from the period following the review and not calculate an overpayment inbetween.

    Your thoughts?[b:a5daa85781][/b:a5daa85781]

    #88231
    Anonymous
    Guest

    In the situation you describe I would not create any overpayment. These threads may be useful:
    https://hbinfo.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8039
    https://hbinfo.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11191

    #88232
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Thanks for the quick response,

    I believe self-employed cases (as in the first thread) are required to be treated in a different way to the employed so whilst I can see similarities I don’t believe we can apply the same rules.

    I had read the 2nd thread, but didnt feel it covered the same point I am addressing i.e. would you go back to basically the start of the award a calculate an overpayment?

    #41073
    Anonymous
    Guest

    To go back to the start of the award you would need grounds to revise. Grounds to revise could be:
    -Application from the claimant. Does not apply here.
    -Official error. Probably does not apply (unless original payslips were loaded incorrectly)
    -Mistake as to a material fact. Does not apply. You correctly determined entitlement by estimating future earnings with reference to past payslips.

    The only thing that has changed is that time has passed. To paraphrase Peter Barker from thread 8039 it may no longer be safe to rely on the previous payslips to estimate income on a prospective basis. Therefore you have grounds to supersede, but arguably only from the date you receive the new payslips.

    #88233
    Anonymous
    Guest

    And then there’s the common sense argument – why do you want to have to deal with the extra work involved with creating an unnecessary and relatively small overpayment?

    #41075
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    [quote:5b4b54f344=”mwigg1″]And then there’s the common sense argument – why do you want to have to deal with the extra work involved with creating an unnecessary and relatively small overpayment?[/quote:5b4b54f344]

    That’s my angle on this (my team collect these horrible ops).

    You and I are on the same page,

    thanks

    #41076
    Kevin D
    Participant

    [quote:2c124ddb01=”AndrewDonald”]Thanks for the quick response,

    I believe self-employed cases (as in the first thread) are required to be treated in a different way to the employed so whilst I can see similarities I don’t believe we can apply the same rules.[/quote:2c124ddb01]

    On what legal basis? The change of circs provisions apply equally to s/e and employed earnings.

    Also, the fact that a change may cause work and/or inconvenience, even for small amounts, is irrelevant. There is no tolerance level in HB/CTB. If there has been a change, it [u:2c124ddb01]must[/u:2c124ddb01] (in law) be actioned. Of course, I readily acknowledge it can be a fine line between what counts as a change of circs and what isn’t. However, if there has been a change of circs, awards of HB/CTB must be superseded / revised as appropriate.

    #41077
    AndrewDonald
    Participant

    Thanks for your response Kevin,

    I agree that if there has been a change in circs then a supersession must be carried out. The question is therefore has there been a change in circs?

    In my example I describe the situation as being –

    “….the YTD figure also shows average as £108pw<an increase>. there is no increase in the hourly rate and the claimant states that her standard working week (in hours) has not changed, though it is the odd additional hours work that has pushed her average earnings up. ”

    Would you class this as a change in circumstances? On the basis that the extra earned has been ad hoc, I would not.

    #41078
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I also find this a tricky area which am currently looking at. If we have estimatesd earnings which fluctiuate based on the previous gross to date for a year for example as being indicative of the wages going forward and this comes out at £200 per week and then the next week the customer earns £300 and the week after £100 then the week after £220 then £180 at what point does she report a change of circs? Are claimants expected to sit around working out their average net wages all the time? But I can also see the argument that they have received more income for a period and so we should go back and supersede with the correct figures. However, if it turned out that the average change was a decrease in wage we would not go back and give the claimant their extra money!

    #41079
    Alex G
    Participant

    [quote:83091b85c3]However, if it turned out that the average change was a decrease in wage we would not go back and give the claimant their extra money![/quote:83091b85c3]

    Could it be argued that the delay is reasonable and therefore we can go back with the increase?

    e.g. claimant hands in 5 weeks wageslips and says please re-asseess my earnings – my earnings were changing but only after 5 weeks was I sure that the average had gone down, ?

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