Delayed notification of changes in circumstance

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    Those of you who were at the Pension Credit Conference, in Camden, might recall a query being raised at one of the Q & A sessions, about how we deal with late notification of detrimental changes from pensioners, to The Pension Service (TPS). On top of that the question was whether it then made a difference if TPS also delayed in informing the local authority of this change. At the time this was said to be a “live issue, ” and we would be advised later.

    As nothing had since been received I today e-mailed the DWP for an answer, and surprisingly got a response the same day! This response I have copied below for reference, so you are all aware of the current position.

    “Operations colleagues are currently drafting guidance on this which is to be cleared with the LAAs. When this has been done I will issue it. I have you on my list.



    That’s that clarified then!!


    I would like to take a pre-emptive guess at what the answer should be.

    It seems clear to me that the claimant has no duty to report the start/end/change in the amount of either component of Pension Credit: the whole thing is left to ETD. The claimant’s reporting duties are to the DWP.

    Having said that, if the claimant delays in telling the Pension Service about a detrimental change, they will be clobbered for an HB overpayment somewhere down the line. But suppose the DWP then adds on its own separate delay after the change is reported to it? There would from that point on be a separate cause of DWP official error for the recent portion of the overpayment.

    So I think the answer is: the overpayment period will have to be split to isolate the part that was truly the claimant’s own fault. ETD layout will have to deal with this somehow.


    Claimant is on Guarantee Credit of £5 a week, too young for SC. Starts part-time job paying £60 a week net on 1 November 2003. This should be enough to take him/her out of Pension Credit altogether. Doesn’t tell the DWP until 1 December 2003, by which time three further payments of £5 a week GC have been made. DWP decides this notificatin was not “timeous”, therefore claimant is to blame. On 10 January 2004, council receives ETD announcing end of GC. The effective date of the change is w/b 1 November or thereabouts, because it wasn’t reported promptly to DWP. So there is an overpayment. But the cause of the o/p from the beginning of December onwards is DWP official error.

    Note that in cases where the claimant does report the change to DWP timeously, there is no overpayment at all: not even a DWP error one. It simply doesn’t take effect until the council finds out. The above analysis only applies to cases where there was some initial delay by the claimant.

    That’s my guess.


    That would certainly seem to be a common sense assumption, but it does lead to a situation where the DWP is out of pocket for its delays if the claimant delayed also, but not if the claimant reported the change on time!! A strange scenario.

    If I receive a response before it is reported via Circular or “Dear Manager” letter, I will post the dedtails on this thread.

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