Child Benefit Evidence – Security Manual (old VF)

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  • #23273
    Accura
    Participant

    The new security manual is not specific about what type of evidence is required to verify child benefit. Whilst a child benefit letter / book maybe preferable its not the only method of verification.
    [i:72e2a75687]
    7.271 The amount of Child Benefit (ChB) in payment will be an indication of the number of children in the claimant’s household. ChB may be paid by order book, cashed weekly or four-weekly at the Post Office®, or Direct Payment paid four-weekly into the claimant’s bank or building society account. Do not ask claimants to send in their ChB order books.

    7.272 If you see a ChB order book, check the names and dates of birth of the children shown on the book with those on the claim form. Follow up any discrepancies and record details on the case.[/i:72e2a75687]
    [i:72e2a75687]
    7.273 Other benefits may include amounts for dependant children. The number and age group of the children may be ascertained from the details given[/i:72e2a75687]

    Our client team insist that we have birth certificates where CHB letters / payment books are not provided for new claim and household changes and I have disputed this on the grounds that it causes unnecessary delays in processing times and is not a detailed requirement for “vf” standards.

    I have proposed that in the absence of an award letter or payment book we accept a bank statement that shows the amount of CHB in payment and that this figure matches the number of children declared on the form.

    Having spoken to several fraud teams the consensus is that child benefit fraud is not an HB/CTB issue and is considered low risk for HB/CTB purposes. To insist on birth certificates in each case could be seen as an unreasonable request. I have also mentioned recent cases and decisions that support the inclusion of a child as a household member for whom child benefit is not paid.

    Despite this they have insisted that if a bank statement is used it needs to be supported by a birth certificate. Personally I feel this is counter productive to performance standards targets and for a low risk area of fraud is a fruitless endeavour and surplus to the security guidance.

    Do any sites have examples of cases, BFI suggestions or definitive guidance from DWP that specifies what can and can’t be accepted for child benefit evidence.

    thanks

    #11735
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As evidence of identity, a birth certificate is harldy worth what it costs to buy one from the registry office

    Anybody can get hold of one if the know the persons date of birth and where (s)he was born

    Yet another case of VF not fullfilling what it was meant to do?

    Seriously, its time that the various government departments got their act together on this one by simply sharing their data efficiently

    #11736
    p_moss
    Participant

    Evidence of Child Benefit is for income purposes and therefore an amount on a bank statement should be acceptable. However, a birth certificate is not proof of income. Maybe your client team want further evidence to support the amount on the bank statement in case the Child Benefit being paid is for children that don’t actually reside with the claimant. If this is the case, it’s overkill.

    You can satisfy yourself in many different ways that children reside with a claimant and Child Benefit can be a deciding factor but not the only factor. If they’re there, then the child allowances are applicable regardless of any Child Benefit or not.

    I think these are two different areas, proof of income and proof that the child exists. It seems muddled to me and I agree that it seems pointless.

    #11737
    Accura
    Participant

    thanks for your responses!

    I live in hope that our client team will realise the impact of their requirements upon service delivery and hope that they see the light in your replies

    roll on Christmas! 😀

    cheers

    Paul

    #11738
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:5e5b10df99]I live in hope that our client team will realise the impact of their requirements upon service delivery and hope that they see the light[/quote:5e5b10df99]

    Dream on…see my PM!

    #11739
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As some people have already noted, Child Benefit is a source of income for working age claimants (but not 60+ claimants), and it also acts as evidence that children exist.

    The income issue is as simple as any benefits matter can possibly be. Everyone knows the rate of Child Benefit and it is not really possible for someone to under-declare Child Benefit income. Well it is, but as attempted fraud goes that is not the most difficult one to rumble, and I don’t think really that it is plausible customer behaviour to say “I only get £1 a week Child Benefit, hee hee you’ll never catch me out”.

    The real reason why proof of Child Benefit is requested is for evidence that the chidren exist at all and are (still) in the claimant’s care. The circumstances in which a person is getting Child Benefit for a child who doesn’t live with them for HB purposes are rare indeed. We see cases like that discussed on here occasionally, but 99.9% of Child Benefit claimants have care of the child and are entitled to the £45 a week of applicable amount and LRR/LHA space allowance that comes with it.

    Probably the most common reason for getting Child Benefit for an absent child these days is when a European worker claims family benefits in the UK under regulation 1408/71 for children who are back at home (typically in Poland where child benefit is means-tested and so the worker’s Polish family is probably not entitled to domestic family benefits there). I think if your claimant is a European worker it is legitimate to seek further evidence that the children actually live with them in this country – perhaps this is one of those situations where a home visit can reasonably be insisted upon?

    #11740
    Anonymous
    Guest

    A home visit might not be necessary if the child is of school age, all that might be needed is to ask the claimant for details of the schools the children go to.

    Those questions are asked by the Revenue in order to verify the CHB claim. I dont see why the data cant be shared with LA’s

    #11741
    markp
    Participant

    One minor point –

    CHB books don’t exist anymore. Bank statements should show the CHB no. so there shouldn’t be any real problem confirming any doubts over an award.

    As long as the bank statement shows the relevant amount of CHB and that corresponds with the no of kids on the A?F then I will accept it as evidence of the CHB award unless and only unless, there are grounds to suspect that the kids are elsewhere.

    NB A birth certificate also states that it is not evidence of identity!!

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