Death and partners

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    Hi. Currently if a claimant dies leaving a partner, we would suspend the claim whilst we invite the partner to submit an application form. Is this correct / allowed? Cheers.

    Kevin D

    Sorry Neil, but if the clmt dies, that claim ends – it is a separate entity to any other claim made by someone else.

    However, if the partner makes a new claim within one month of the end of the deceased partner’s claim, there will be no break in HB/CTB (subject to entitlement).



    Are ther any potential problems to keeping the old claim active but under suspension?


    Any problems? I cannot think of any legal ones but I am not sure why you would want to do this. Is it an overpayment issue where you (reasonably) do not want to send out notifs to deceased person or their next of kin? Surely if you do suspend, your IT would want to claim this case as a change in circs rather than a new claim for instance?


    A bit of history. In the old days, when we were notified of the death of a claimant we used to follow this procedure:

    1)If the claimant was male and a pensioner, we would end him on the claim and replace him with his partner.
    2) We would then swap his state pension with hers. The reasoning being that this was going to be nearer the true figure of her revised state pension.
    3) We would the add any superannuations or private pensions to her claim, to take into acount her possible entitlement she may have had to them.
    4) Add his capital to her claim.

    This was a temporary measure whist we waited for a new claim form and was designed to let the customer continue to receive benefit (as opposed to suspending it) but to also limit the possibitlity any large over-payments, once her income was sorted. We wanted to make this time as painless as possible to the customer.

    We no longer do this but as a throw-back tend not to end the claim but suspend whilst waiting for a new form.

    Problems that I can see with this procedure are that if the claim was accuracy checked during this period, it would fail (ie it is a non-existent claim) and that any overpayment on the CTB side, during the suspension to a possible cancellation date could be classed as LA error.

    I was wondering if there were any other problems in adopting this approach and how other preople were dealing with this situation.

    Carol Meredith

    We cancel the dead claimant’s claim but we withold letters so that no leters go out to a deceased person and then we arrange a visit to the surviving partner (male or female) to make a new claim. I do not see how you can carry on paying a claim for someone who has died as that claim has ceased to exist. Any overpayment has to be LA error. If Benefit has continued in deceased person’s name after you knew they had died it is LA error and if you have changed the claimant to be the surviving partner without having a valid claim then it is an LA error overpayment and I would say non recoverable at that.

    Kevin D

    Picking up on one point only; I agree with Carol’s view about the potential consequence of switching a partner to being the “clmt” without a valid claim.

    Subject to any CDs, or case law, suggesting otherwise, it could be strongly argued that any payments made without a valid claim are not by way of HB. In turn, HBRs 99 / 100 cannot apply, as they only apply to HB.

    On the other hand, if that is correct, does that leave the door open for restitution by way of a general civil action?

    Hmmm…. this is a can of worms…. and the lid just won’t weld back…. 😯

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