Award or increase in relevant benefit

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    A perennial topic, especially in view of recent briefing on this web site. The Regulations do not stack up unfortunately and I have written to the DWP. This is their reply:


    —–Original Message—–
    From: Chris Dring []
    Sent: 24 October 2006 11:07
    To: Begum Jahnara WWEG HOUSING COSTS
    Subject: DMA Regs and HB Regs Conflict

    Please can you clear up mass confusion about the correct procedure to be followed when a clt in receipt of HB subsequently becomes entitled to “a relevant benefit” within the meaning of the 1988 Act.

    DMA Reg 8(2) provides that where a superseding decision is a change of circumstances it takes effect in accordance with HB Reg 68 (1987 Regs) – that is to say the following Monday – subject to paragraphs (3) and (6) of DMA Reg 8

    DMA Reg 8(14) provides that where the decision is superseded in accordance with DMA Reg 7(2)(i) (award of relevant benefit) it takes effect from the actual day of new or increased entitlement.

    As DMA Reg 8(2) doesn’t appear to be subject to Reg 8(14) what is it’s legal status, i.e. which paragraph has precedence. If, as I understand it, the DWP’s intention is that Reg 8(14) should hold sway please could you point me to any circulars or guidance on this subject . The HB Guidance Manual doesn’t mention it and recent circulars with regard to, say, rent increases (A18/2005), repeat the mantra that the general rule as laid down in HB Reg 68 applies.

    I think you will find that most authorities (and indeed software suppliers) are interpreting this incorrectly – or not
    Chris Dring
    Benefits Manager

    Hi Chris

    Thank you for your e-mail.

    I apologise for the delay in responding. We are aware that this is an issue. We are looking into it. I will respond as soon as I can, I hope this will not be a problem unless you have got a case that cannot wait. Please let me know if that is the situation.


    Jahnara Begum

    Housing Benefit Strategy Division

    J Cox

    I’m pleased I’m not the only one. I thought I understood this until the November briefing came through on email this morning. Now I’m very confused!
    Please can you post their reply when they get back to you.


    I’ve now had a reply!

    [[i:382fd889fa]quote]I agree that the way that the regs fit together is not very clear. I am unable to give you legal advice on the interpretation of statutory provisions. However the intention is that the award of a “relevant benefit” is an exception to the general rule about advantageous changes in the HB/CTB Decisions and Appeals Regs 2001.

    There are broadly two classes of cases. Firstly, where a subsequent award of a relevant benefit has effect from the start of an award of HB or CTB. In these cases the decision on the claim can be revised at any time. The revised decision has effect from the date the original decision took effect unless that date was incorrect. There is no requirement within this provision (reg 4(7B)) for the claimant to notify the LA of the award within any particular time scale. Regulation 4(7C) provides for the situation where entitlement to HB or CTB ceases but subsequently falls to be restored because of the award of a relevant benefit.

    Secondly, where a subsequent award of a relevant benefit has effect from a date after the start of an award of HB or CTB. In these cases the decision awarding benefit is superseded on the grounds under regulation 7(2)(i) with effect from the date the award of the relevant benefit took effect in accordance with regulation 8(14). In our view regulations 8(2) and (3) are not engaged as these provisions relate to a supersession on the grounds under regulation 7(2)(a). Reg 8(14) must be applied to a supersession under reg 7(2)(i), and reg 8(14) is not subject to reg 8(2) or (3) or reg 79(1) HBGR.

    DWP guidance on this is in HBGM, Part C 10.60 which was originally issued in Circular A35/2003.


    Seems like we’ve been doing it wrong for years… Incidentally my version of the GM he refers to has not got these paragraphs in it. The internet version has, even though it’s the same issue number!!!

    How are folks getting round inadequacies in their software (Northgate anybody)?

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