Close relative?

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  • #32034
    mmathers
    Participant

    I am due to attend a hearing next Tuesday and the appellant has supplied some supprting evidence today. (better late than never)

    The claim was cancelled as information came to light that the resident landlord is his step-father. The appellant states that he considers his step-father more of a ‘mate’ as he seperated from his mother over 2 years ago.

    He was IUC’d but didnt admit any offence and stated that his claim was made in good faith and not fraudulently.

    He has today provided a deed of seperation agreement dated October 2007.

    My question is does a legal seperation dissolve any meaning of ‘close relative’ under HB regs. I have checked the guidance manual which states that divorce ends any legal relationship but surely a legal seperation would overrule this?

    Can i have some advice please.

    #89517
    markp
    Participant

    I would suggest that the close relative rule would cease at the point of separation. There is, after all, no ongoing relationship between your appellant’s mother and his step father.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................

    #89518
    Anonymous
    Guest

    These threads offer some differing views:
    http://hbinfo.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15694
    http://hbinfo.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16646
    Take yer pick!

    #89519
    mmathers
    Participant

    You see, my problem is that there are differing views on this. The guidance manual states that divorce ends legal attachment, which to me is concrete and there is little argument against this.

    So, why are there differing views?

    I am happy to take this one to the hearing next week with the facts as i am happy there is a solid case but has anyone had any experience of similar cases that have been taken to FTT.

    #89520
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    Can I ask if the stepfather had or has legal responsibility for the stepson and if so did the seperation end the relationship? If the seperation did end the relationship what are/were the time lines?

    #89521
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Best you can do is offer the alternative arguments to the judge and see what they decide. They’ll probably be more convinced by the caselaw suggested by Darren Broughton in the earlier of those threads – R(S) 4/81 – than by the DWP guidance.

    Do you have any reg 9 alternatives to fall back on – contrived, non-commercial, etc?

    #89522
    mmathers
    Participant

    But isn’t that caselaw from 1981?

    I have analised the seperation agreement and the stepson was never mentioned it is just a financial agreement. The stepfather was not legally responsible.

    They seperated and mother moved out in May 2007, agreement was drawn up in October 2007. Family had lived in the property in question for at least 10 years prior to mum moving out. Claimant had been charged a nominal rent since since 2002 and when mum left the rent increased. So since 2007 claimant and ‘L/L’ have been living in property and no other children involved as far as i can see. When the claim was made, claimant was out of work prior to that no claim had been made.

    Cannot find any other alternatives in Reg 9.

    #89523
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I cannot find a copy of R(S) 4/81, but judging from the commentary in Nelligan’s I would be extremely cautious about jumping to the conclusion that in every case as a matter of law a step-parent must remain a step-parent after divorce.

    The context of R(S) 4/81 appears to be a claim for dependant child additions (which were still payable at the time) in a claim for contribution based sickness benefit. The Commissioner appears to have concluded that a divorced man retained entitlement to those additions in respect of children who were the biological children of his ex-wife. Presumably he was responsible for the children, so a finding like that is not a great surprise.

    As I say, I haven’t seen the full decision, but I would be surprised if it contains an unequivocal binding decision that a divorcee is still a step-parent in all circumstances, including a Reg 9(1)(b) case. I suspect that “step-parent” is not a term with any specialised legal meaning and that you will need to consider in each case whethger it is sensible or reasonable to view someone as still being a “step-parent” after the link with the natural parent has ended or becoe more distant for one reason or another.

    #89524
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    HBR9 (1) any use?

    [quote:6a77b9d832] (g) subject to paragraph (3), before the liability was created, he was a non-dependant of someone who resided, and continues to reside, in the dwelling [/quote:6a77b9d832]

    #89525
    Anonymous
    Guest

    …but then you get into the whole issue of whether someone can be a former non-dep of someone who has never claimed benefit. If the “landlord” in this case was never receiving HB he was never a “claimant”, so the son-in-law was never a non-dep.

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