Benefit Award

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    I’ve been debating an issue with a couple of colleagues, and wonder if anyone else wants to contribute, stick their oar in etc etc

    We’ve recently discovered that a claimant notified us in 1997 that they had started to receive DLA. We up until now have done nothing about it. One colleague wants us to go back all they way as it really is our fault, which means a very Happy Christmas for one old lady.

    However I say we can only go back 52 weeks, and am sorry but that’s the best we can do.

    Any thoughts??



    You should be treating this as a revision, and so the original decision on this ladys claim is incorrect, this means you must revise your decision from the date of the change.

    There is nothing in the regs regarding 52 weeks for a revision, I think you may be thinking of backdating rules where you can only go back for a maximum of 52 weeks.

    See ward and Zeb 17.46 and 17.47 – You have to award the arrears no matter how far back they go. 😆


    As you are correcting an omission or a mistake, then I would have thought that you have grounds for an any time revision, but as always, I stand to be corrected………


    I think that you have to go back all the way, its an anytime revision, as you had assessed her case without taking regard to all of the facts that you knew about at the time.


    Ok then, I’ll have a go. (Puts head above parapet, takes third light etc.) 😉

    I don’t think this is an advantageous change, but more a mistake that the LA has made. Therefore anytimre revision due to LA error.
    I’m sure that if you don’t there would be many organisations willing to represent your claimant, so I would be giving her the nice Christmas Present. 😀 8)

    Kevin D

    [b:acbaa9bdc3]DAR 4(2)[/b:acbaa9bdc3] applies. But, this is discretionary.

    If the LA chooses not to revise, the clmt’s only recourse is through JR – there will not be a statutory right of appeal.



    4 replies within 4 minutes, all agreeing, hows that for speed? 😉

    and Kevin too 🙂


    It’s not the rapidity that worries me, but the fact that everyone seems to be agreeing!! 😀
    Mindboggling!! 😯 8)


    There is nothing in the regs regarding 52 weeks for a revision, I think you may be thinking of backdating rules where you can only go back for a maximum of 52 weeks.

    Whilst you are right about there being nothing in the D&A regs limiting the period of time for a revision to 52 weeks, there used to be a regulation (Pre D&A regs) that did limit the amount of time you could go back to 52 weeks.

    It was all based on mistakes and errors and can’t quite remember the ins and outs, but that might be what Darren is thinking about.

    ETA: When I started this post only Caroline has responded!


    On the face of it you are guilty of an official error, which is a ground for any-time revision. But it might not be quite that simple.

    First of all, I think I know where you are coming from with the 52-week thing. You are looking at the limitatiopn on arrears that used to be present in the principal HB Regs before the D&A Regs 2001 came along, and you are assuming that the old review mechanism still applies to pre-2001 decisions? I don’t think it does – first because we would all still be holding Review Boards if that were so, and second because the Commissioners said so in R(H) 6/04. So if you have to revisit a pre-2001 decision you should do that using the D&A adjudication framework.

    That brings us back to official error as a ground for any-time revision.

    You must have made at least 9 or 10 decisions on this case since 1997 – perhaps more (renewal claims, annual upratings, any other incidental changes of circumstance along the way). Each time you made one of those decisions, it was wrong because it did not take account of DLA. The extent to which that remained your fault all along will depend on the papers you have got: did the claimant contribute to your oversight by failing to mention DLA on renewal claims? Did she only declare it once and then never again? You will have to decide how obvious it ought to have been each time a decision was made that the claimant was on DLA.

    If you decide that the claimant at least contributed to your error, the official error definition in D&A Reg 1(2) does not apply.

    The question then arises, what now?

    You would have to look at other grounds for revision and supersession. Ignorance of a material fact or a mistake as to a material fact look promising. The snag is, you can only revise for those reasons if the mistake/ignorance came to light within a month of any decision. So it might be possible to revise your most recent decision if you made it within the last month, but not any of the earlier ones. Instead, you would have to supersede under Reg 7(2)(b) from the start of the week in which the factual irregularity was discovered. No 52 weeks’ arrears, no nothing.

    In short, depending on how you view the error, you either go back to 1997 or you don’t go back at all.

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