Change of Circs – LA or Claimant error?

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    Advice desparately required! 😕

    We have the following scenario (apologies in advance if it’s a bit long winded) which has divided opinion in the office and we would welcome some further advice:

    Customer submits Change of Circs form 24/07/2006 following the death of her partner 8/07/2006. Declares all the details of her income and capital and also informs us that she had applied for Incap/IS. CL submits all the required evidence 17/08/2006 and informs us that Income Support was disallowed due to excess income from Incap, private pension and CA. Assessor tried to establish Incap benefit from RAT but reply came back that no decision was made. By this point we had all the other information for all other income and the claim was calculated.
    At the time of the calculation the customer was not in receipt of Incap and we could not have used notional income unless we were certain of the amount the person could receive.
    14/09/06, we receive information that Bereavement Allowance had now been awarded in preference to Incap and is backdated to 11/07/2006. The backdated amount cannot be disregarded so the BA is added to the claim and the recalc causes an overpayment.

    Our questions are these :
    At the point the claim was calculated, was the LA in possession of all the information and should the claim have been calculated?

    If not, what action should the LA take in this sort of case with a regard to time taken to calc and PI’s? (If we hadn’t have calc’d when we did, it would have taken nearly 10 weeks to calculate the change of circs)

    Should the OP now be considered Claimant error and if so recoverable?


    Normally I would say you were fine to calculate, BUT I am a little concerned that the claimant told you that “Income Support was disallowed due to excess income from [b:91089e1c59]Incap[/b:91089e1c59], private pension and CA.”

    Even if the RAT said no Incap Decision yet I would have expected you to check with claimant over this apparent discrepancy. If you didn’t I would say that there is a strong argument that the overpayment is LA error.

    We all want to do well in the PIs, but we all get hit with the odd 70 days plus cases in circumstances like these, it is just the way things are.

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