cocs – pensioner couple – partner dies

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    david kearney

    we are having a discussion as to the correct way to proceed where we have a pensioner couple, in receipt of guarantee credit and full hb/ctb, when we are advised that the partner has died. Should we

    a) do nothing – the pension service has not advised that gc has ended or
    b) suspend and request details of revised entitlement from pension service
    and/or request standard claim

    or – something else entirely?



    If it is the partner that dies you should ensure the PS knows and leave HB/CTB in payment until they make a decision on the PC.

    If it had been the claimant you would of course end the benefit entitlement and get a new claim completed.

    david kearney

    sounds good to me,. thanks

    david kearney

    hgow about this then, couple in receipt of savings credit, partner dies

    should we

    a) leave cust and partner on claim with existing aif and sca, advise pension service and allow hb ctb to continue at existing rates
    b) remove partner and assess on the basis of existing aif and sca
    c) suspend and wait for ps re-assesment/invite standard claim


    (b) probably, assuming it is not the Pc claimant who is now deceased.

    Should notify Pc service of death using agreed systems.

    La has to use Aif and Sc as supplied.

    La has to decide applicable amounts etc.


    david kearney

    which in the particular case would mean the remaining claimant getting no benefit because of the reduced applicable amount. following contact with the customer I ended up going for c, mainly on the grounds that if i did b he’d get no benefit anyway. No idea whether this was the correct approach though

    thanks for the response


    Sorry to resurrect this old post but would anyone like to share their procedure for dealing with the scenario posted by David?

    I am looking at trying to pin this down so that we have some degree of consistency.

    I would like to suggest that until the death of a partner is notified by the Pension Service on an ETD we take no action on the claim (except re-reading of ctax costs). If the combined affect of the change in the applicable amount, AIF and Savings Credit means less B/CTB that we action all the changes together from the Monday after the ETD is received.



    Andy Thurman

    I’d agree with that Clare, as long as we ensure the PS themselves have been notified.


    Thanks Andy


    Resurrecting this post again. I agree with the way Claire has suggested as it does fall in line with DWP guidance manual (A6 deciding & paying Benefit P6.374 & HB60+ Reg 60 CTB 51).

    We have had numerous discussions about this subject and what’s the best way to implement the change as we are currently updating our procedures.


    Mrs B – Claimant
    Mr B – Partner
    Currently getting Savings Credit (PCS).
    Mr B (Partner) passes away on 29.12.09
    Pension credit notify us on 14.01.10 of a change that reduces there HB/CTB entitlement

    Should we then leave the claim as it is (apart from amending the CTax liability from the 29.12.09) until Monday following 14.01.10 which is 18.01.10.
    Even though Mr B has died leave the claim with him in the household until Pension Credit notify us of changes.
    (Input 52 week protection as well if applicable)

    Does your Authority do the same?



    I have a slightly different scenario!

    Couple on Guarantee Credit and HB/CTB. Mr A is the PC claimant & Mrs A is HB claimant.

    Mrs A dies and Mr A tells the Pensions Service. They send us an ETD with an end date for Mrs A but basically Mr A’s PC entitlement just continues. We don’t notice the end date for Mrs A and just do a ‘No Further Action Required’.

    Nearly 18 months later we send out a review form to Mrs A and Mr A tells us his wife died. Her claim is cancelled back to the date she died, creating a large o/p. He makes a claim in his own right which is paid from date of claim going back three months.

    We cannot recover the o/p from him as they are no longer a couple, so where do we go from here?

    Is it LA error that the DWP told us she’d died and we did nothing? He was not the HB claimant so he had no duty to tell us of the COC. He didn’t even receive the HB payments as she was the LA tenant and the payments went onto her rent account.

    We can’t claim it back from her estate because I don’t think she has one -council tenants on GC with no bank accounts!

    Would you write off the o/p or try to find a way to pay benefit for the gap period? It’s a tricky one and I feel sorry for him.


    I think I know the answer to this (I think the answer is plumb official error non-recoverable, especially on the HB side), but just to be sure:

    – were they joint tenants?
    – were they joint CT payers?

    (I am assuming Yes and Yes)


    Hi Peter

    The answers are actually ‘no’ and ‘no’!! Mrs A was the sole liable person on both the CTAX and rent accounts!

    Does that alter your opinion?

    PS – I tried to get it written off as unrecov LA error but was turned down!


    I was afraid you might say that.

    I think the answer is that the original claimant’s HB and CTB are both rendered null and void by her death, because the liability against which both were awarded ceased with her death. You have either no overpayment or a technical overpayment, but the effect is the same.

    Having said that, shouldn’t the husband have been jointly liable for CT as the spouse of the resident tenant? If the billing posiiton could be retrospectively regularised, then I believe you would have an official error non-recoverable overpayment against the same continuing CT liability. That ought to bridge the gap between her death and the start of his claim, so he won’t have to pay any council tax.

    The rent side is more difficult. I don’t know enough about the housing law side of it, but I think the posiiton is that he became the tenant as her successor by operation of law on her death. There has been a rent liability at all times since her death, even if the Council had not set up a new rent account for him. Whether this is true “rent” before it has been formally demanded, or something else like use and occupation charges I don’t know. Whether it is possible to say that payments you thought you were making to Mrs can be regarded as payments to Mr I also do not know – it’s a bit complicated. There is right-to-buy case (Hanoman v Southwark) in which the Court of Appeal decided that the formula by which a tenant is entitled to compensation for delay in the RTB process based on the rent they have unnecessarily had to pay should take into account rent rebate as if it were rent paid by the tenant. But the context is very very different. The worry here is that your original claimant’s rent account, including her HB, has disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving the husband with rent/use & occ charges to meet himself all the way back to the date of her death. If you could somehow view the rent rebate in the wife’s name as a payment to him, then I think the official error non-recoverable argument works for HB as well. I really don’t know – maybe have as quick look at Hanoman and see what you think?


    Thanks Peter

    I cannot get this done as official error so am now pursuing a write off on the grounds that the claimant had no estate and we cannot recover this through the HB regs as the claimant is dead and we cannot recover from the partner as they aren’t partners at the time of recovery (they weren’t even partners at the time of the o/p as she had already died!).

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